Who we are

Children’s Obesity Action Team (COAT) is a multidisciplinary group of healthcare professionals.

We are dedicated to the development of culturally responsive and age-appropriate resources for families and professional colleagues to increase awareness, provide education, and facilitate action to decrease childhood obesity.

If you would like to support our efforts to serve children dealing with making healthy lifestyle changes please go to Children’s Ways to Help Web site.


The Children’s Obesity Action Team has been actively involved in a variety of projects including:

National Assessment of Obesity Management

This national assessment involves surveying pediatric medical professionals to determine what other healthcare facilities are doing to address obesity in children.

Our objectives are to understand current practices, quantify existing programs and their efficacy, and identify any approaches that could be leveraged by others dedicated to this issue. A summary report of findings is pending.

Pediatric Weight Management: Skills and Resources for Providers

This half-day, interactive skills development workshop will provide tools and techniques for the identification and management of pediatric overweight. The focus of the training will be on working with children who are >85% percentile BMI and their families.

Pediatric experts from the fields of medicine, nutrition, psychology, fitness and health will address:

  • healthy feeding relationships
  • recommendations for weight goals for children and adolescents, appetite and mood regulation
  • normalizing and improving physical activity and food intake to support weight goals
  • assessment of readiness for change
  • motivational interviewing and counseling
  • practical approaches at different developmental stages
  • the provider’s role in a community-based multifaceted management model

Two workshops have already been held. View details of the next workshop here.

Strong Kids/Strong Teens

Teaching children, teens and families to take charge of healthy eating and being active.

Strong Kids/Strong Teens is a nutrition, physical activity and self-empowerment program that serves overweight children/teens and their parents at community-based YMCAs.

Developed in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Seattle, Children’s and Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, Strong Kids/Strong Teens serves youth (ages 8 to 14 years) who are overweight or at risk of overweight (>85th percentile BMI), to learn about nutrition, physical activity and self-empowerment.

The program includes:

  • Two 90-minute sessions per week for 12 weeks
  • Followed by monthly sessions for six months
  • Requires participation of an adult family member and the child

Designed around “best practices” and strategies that accompany lifestyle change, Strong Kids/Strong Teens requires provider referral. The program offers three months of intervention, a six-month maintenance phase, a personal YMCA family coach and access to multiple YMCA activities.

Development of Family and Community Based Resources to Provide Clinical Guidance

In 2002, COAT was funded by an award from the Office of the Washington State Attorney General through the Vitamins Antitrust Litigation Settlement to identify and develop resources for healthcare professionals, children, & their families that address the issues of healthy eating, physical activity, and overweight.

These resources are intended to reflect the needs of overweight children, their families, and the healthcare providers caring for them with a special emphasis on the Hispanic/Latino and African American communities.

As part of a needs assessment for resource development, two-hour focus groups with primary care providers (n=58), teenagers (n=32), and parents, grandparents, or caregivers (n=74) were conducted at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic in Seattle, Children’s Village in Yakima, Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee, and at Children’s Hospital main campus in Seattle.

Topic guides specific to each targeted population were developed. Five topic areas were used with providers: assessment, management, barriers, brainstorming for needed resources, and choosing top resources.

Parent/Teen topics included: concept of health, eating habits, decision making, healthy eating, keeping fit, how to motivate, brainstorming for needed resources, and choosing top resources.

Based on the results a variety of resources have been developed including:

Weight Management Educational Materials 
This handout lists the top educational materials chosen by family and provider focus group participants. Contact information on how to obtain these materials is included.

Changes for a Healthy Lifestyle: Helpful Ideas from Parents
Provider version. Review tips from parents on how to approach healthy lifestyle changes.

Get specific ideas and recommendations on modeling active living and preparing easy nutritious snacks and meals

Healthy Eating / Activity Packets for Families
For families, we have developed age-specific Healthy Eating / Activity Packets for preschool (3-5 years) school-age (6-12 years) and teens (13 and older) that promote healthy lifestyles.

These packets contain materials that address healthy eating, behavior changes, and physical activity.

Materials will be mailed to families free of charge.

Provider Packet for Obesity Management 
Provider Packets have been developed to assist healthcare providers when managing obesity and discussing healthy lifestyle concerns with patients and their families.

The packets include current information about childhood obesity, useful tools for the office environment to promote the message of a healthy lifestyle, and copies of the age-specific family educational materials.

The American Heart Association and COAT have partnered to help combat obesity by providing children and teens with healthy eating and physical activity education materials.

Called Love them with all your HEART!, the message provides families a framework for changing eating patterns and activity levels, understanding the importance of mood and appetite regulation while encouraging a healthy body image.

  • Help each other to make wise choices about regular physical activity and healthy eating.
  • Encouragement and support is important.
  • Actions speak louder than words. Be a positive role model.
  • Remember that change takes time. Take one step at a time.
  • Target the whole family. Learn and practice new behaviors together!

The collaboration has also included distribution of materials that help health care providers to discuss and treat obesity concerns with patients and their families are also planned.

By co-branding the message and materials to acknowledge both Children’s and the AHA, we also raise the awareness among providers, families and the general public about Children’s interest and expertise in cardiovascular health issues.