The Healthy Weight Program advances the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity by integrating excellence in clinical care, research, quality education and community advocacy. Our vision is to be a premier pediatric program dedicated to the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity.
The program sees overweight and obese children and adolescents between 2 and 18 years of age. Your child’s primary care provider can tell you if your child's Body Mass Index (BMI) is at or above the 85th percentile for their age and gender. If your child is overweight or obese, tell your primary care provider you are interested in the Healthy Weight Program. You should also contact your insurance company regarding referrals and to find out if care would be covered.
How the Healthy Weight Program helps manage your child’s weight
Our team strives to improve the health and quality of life of children with excess weight by working with families to make healthy lifestyle changes. We assess weight-related medical issues and weight management through a family-based approach that is uniquely tailored for your child and family.
Our medical providers are specialists in obesity medicine and help manage the health issues related to having excess weight. A medical provider from the Healthy Weight Program will evaluate your child for possible weight-related medical issues and may manage these issues with your child’s primary care doctor.
Your child’s medical provider will help you by:
- Ordering lab tests or studies to help determine which issues to address
- Coordinating care within the clinic, as well as with other medical provider teams that your child sees, including his primary care doctor
Nutrition and physical activity
A dietitian from our program will assess your child's current eating habits, identify opportunities for improvement and guide your family in making healthy choices.
The physical activity specialist will assess your child's current fitness levels and habits and teach your family ways to increase physical activity. The program's on-site fitness facility and teaching kitchen are fun, bright places where children can attend cooking demonstrations and physical activity sessions and practice new skills.
Your family will learn how to:
- Make healthy choices and increase physical activity
- Be more aware of your eating and activity habits
Healthy behavior changes
The behavioral health providers will work with and help support your family in making healthy changes. Our team psychologist will help address issues related to motivation, making changes, parent-child interactions and concerns such as bullying, self-esteem, depression and anxiety, and will help your family learn skills such as:
- Setting limits in a positive way
- Problem solving
- Setting goals
- Talking about healthy behaviors
- Managing stress
- Staying motivated
The social worker will identify barriers that may be keeping your child from having a healthy weight, support your family in making healthy changes, and provide community resources.
Additional treatment options
For some adolescents with severe obesity, the clinic offers two additional treatment options:
- Medication: There are now several FDA-approved medications on the market that could support weight loss when combined with dietary changes.
- Bariatric Surgery: Bariatric surgery, combined with dietary changes, allows for sustained weight loss and can lead to the improvement of obesity-related medical conditions. The Healthy Weight Program offers bariatric surgery for eligible adolescents in partnership with Penn Medicine.
If you are interested in either of these treatments, please speak with your child’s medical provider.