Healthcare Innovation

Learn how Healthier Generation spearheaded healthcare innovation for nearly a decade

For nearly a decade, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation spearheaded cross-sector collaborations to drive innovation in the healthcare industry.

Recognizing the need for expanded screening and interventions to prevent and address childhood obesity, Healthier Generation worked with insurers, large employers, and healthcare provider associations to establish the Healthier Generation Benefit in 2009. This insurance reimbursement program provided pediatric weight management and nutrition counseling coverage to millions of children.

In the years that followed, Healthier Generation expanded upon this work with programs like the Innovation Award for Health Care Provider Training and Education and the My Healthy Weight Initiative. Today, Healthier Generation’s collaborator, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), continues to lead this transformative healthcare work.

Healthier Generation Benefit

Until the launch of the landmark Healthier Generation Benefit, pre-dating the Affordable Care Act, few insurance plans reimbursed healthcare providers for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity. To address this gap, Healthier Generation created the Healthier Generation Benefit, bringing together leading commercial healthcare insurers, self-insured employers, and national medical associations (the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) to reimburse providers for these comprehensive health benefits for the first time.   

The Healthier Generation Benefit offered nearly three million children and their families coverage for preventive guidance and treatment by reimbursing doctors and registered dietitians for their services at no additional cost to consumers, and by supplying families and providers with the tools, resources, and training required to implement these critical services.

Training Healthcare Providers

In 2014, Healthier Generation collaborated with BPC and the American College of Sports Medicine to publish a white paper, Teaching Nutrition and Physical Activity in Medical School: Training Doctors for Prevention-Oriented Care. The paper grew out of an October 2013 forum of key stakeholder groups, including representatives of medical schools, physicians, and insurance providers, and summarized nine recommendations to train current and future medical professionals, particularly physicians, in nutrition and physical activity education.

With the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Healthier Generation and BPC then worked to address four of these recommendations:  

  • Develop and implement standard core competencies for healthcare provider training and education  
  • Recognize and reward innovation to drive continued funding and administrative support for healthcare provider education reform efforts already underway  
  • Provide reimbursement for preventive health services that target lifestyle factors such as nutrition and exercise  
  • Extend improvements in nutrition and physical activity education to other health professionals 
Innovation Award

In 2017 and 2018, Healthier Generation, in collaboration with the American College of Sports Medicine and BPC, presented the Innovation Award for Health Care Provider Training and Education to recognize leading health professional training programs and inspire more schools to strengthen and promote training programs that help tackle obesity, related chronic diseases, and physical inactivity. Winners included:

  • Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University, the first dedicated teaching kitchen to be implemented at a medical school.  
  • Healthy Homes, Healthy Futures at Children's National Health System, an obesity-centered home visitation curriculum for pediatric residents in Washington, D.C.  
  • KNIGHTS Clinic at Grace Medical Home funded by The Diebel Legacy Fund at Central Florida Foundation, a free clinic run by University of Central Florida College of Medicine students that increases students’ knowledge, skills, and confidence in assessing, managing, and counseling patients with obesity.  
  • The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wellness and Preventive Care Pathway at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, which prepares students for excellence in the field of multi-dimensional and holistic wellness.  
  • CHEF (Culinary Health Education for Families) at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, the nation’s first Teaching Kitchen located within a free-standing Children’s Hospital.
My Healthy Weight

Seeking to further collective action to address the national obesity epidemic, Healthier Generation created a task force of leading public (Medicaid) and private commercial insurance payers.  Through the recommendations of this task force, in November 2017, Healthier Generation expanded on the Healthier Generation Benefit to launch the My Healthy Weight Initiative with BPC.  

My Healthy Weight was the first-ever collective program offering insurance benefits to cover obesity prevention and treatment for both children and adults and includes private and public insurance payers and self-insured employers. In its first year, My Healthy Weight resulted in the provision of consistent health insurance coverage to support healthy weight change for more than 10.6 million children and adults.   

Impact and Legacy

Healthier Generation is proud of the lasting legacy of this body of work, which reached millions of children across the US. In addition, results from our formative evaluations have informed the work of our collaborators in the healthcare field, furthering our impact. The success and early learnings from the Healthier Generation Benefit initiative were profiled in the Journal of Obesity and the Journal of Pediatrics, and Healthier Generation worked with Keybridge to produce a report on our work, Eight Lessons Learned from Collaborating with Insurers, Employers, and Healthcare Provider Associations to Prevent Obesity