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Kathryn M. Vreeland MD

  • Graduate 2019
Scholarly Research Project

Starting a Weight Loss Journey with the Shadyside Family Health Center

Kathryn Vreeland, MD; Barry Coutinho, MBBS


Obesity is a rapidly growing epidemic in the United States. Currently, 64.5% of adults are overweight, 30.5% are obese, and 4.7% are morbidly obese. At the Shadyside Family Health Center (SFHC), 27.4% of adults are overweight, 29.6% are obese, and 8.2% are morbidly obese.  This project aims to serve as a starting point for providers to address obesity beyond screening using a Food Diary to aid motivational interviewing.


We created a Food Diary template, “SHY WEIGHT LOSS,” with instructions, goal setting, and basic healthy eating tips for providers to use in patients’ After Visit Summary.  Participants included all resident and attending physician providers at the Family Health Center (n=39).  This initial study measured usage of the template by providers with adult patients BMI >25.


In the initial 6-month period, 33 out of 39 providers utilized the Food Diary template, most on multiple occasions, with usage increasing each month. Three hundred of the total 6425 patients with BMI >25 received food diaries.  In comparison, in the year prior, 79 out of 1382 patients with BMI >25 with UPMC Health Plan were referred to a UPMC Health Coach.


This preliminary intervention demonstrated a significant need and a growing desire for multidisciplinary intervention in obesity beyond screening. Future projects in planning with other residents will build on this momentum to create an actionable framework for physicians to address obesity at SFHC.