Your Child's Appointment With the Healthy Weight Clinic

New patients

We request some clinical information from your child’s primary care provider. This information may include copies of growth charts, recent lab work, and other clinical notes that will help our providers develop a care plan and goals that work for you and your family.

Prepare for your first visit

Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment time to allow time for registration and assessment. Your appointment may last between one to two hours.

Please bring the following to your appointment:

  • If your child has any of the following, please bring:
    • A list of your child’s medications
    • If your child has asthma, bring the medication (albuterol/rescue inhaler)
    • A copy of any IEP for school, family service plan and/or legal custody document
  • Your child may be assessed by the physical activity specialist, and should wear sneakers and clothing appropriate for exercise
  • Please be sure you have a referral for your appointment at the Healthy Weight Clinic, if required by your insurance plan.
  • Your child’s current insurance card

If you need to cancel your appointment, please provide at least 72 hours’ notice. Another family will be grateful for your time. Please be aware that if you arrive late for your visit or without required paper work, your appointment may be rescheduled.

Referrals and financial information

If your insurance plan requires referrals from your pediatrician (your child's primary doctor), please be sure to get one before your visit. Please check with your insurance company about the benefits that are provided for your visit and testing at the Healthy Weight Clinic at CHOP.

You should also ask your insurance provider about what co-pays or deductibles you will owe at the time of your visit. You may be responsible to pay a co-pay or deductible for both your visit with the physician or nurse practitioner, and testing or treatment your child receives.

For more information about your financial responsibilities, an explanation of any bills you will receive, and a list of resources available to you if you have questions about health insurance or billing, please refer to Billing and Insurance.

What to expect when you come to the Healthy Weight Program

Your first visit

The first visit is usually with the physician and will include a physical exam, medical assessment, and general nutrition and exercise assessment. You may also see a dietitian on this visit. Your providers at this first visit will set the course for your next several visits based on your needs.

How to prepare for your first visit

  • For your first visit with the doctor, it is important that we have:
    • Growth charts
    • Any previous blood work (especially related to diabetes screening, cholesterol levels and liver function tests)
  • Before meeting with the dietitian, it can be helpful to bring a short food diary (two to three days of typical foods eaten).

Program structure

We recommend coming to the HWP once each month to meet with one of our team members over the course of several months. Typically, you meet with one provider at each visit.
Our providers include:

  • Physician
  • Dietitians
  • Physical activity specialists
  • Psychologist
  • Social Worker

Everyone has a slightly different course, based on what each child needs.

As an example, your course might look like this:

Month 1: Physician

Month 2: Dietitian

Month 3: Physical Activity Specialist 

Month 4: Psychologist 

Month 5: Physician

Physician visit

During medical visits, the physician will complete a full medical assessment, which includes a physical exam and evaluation for medical conditions or concerns. They will also order any needed labs or studies. At follow-up medical visits, your provider will assess how lifestyle changes are going and will help you set small manageable goals. Your medical provider will also coordinate care with the rest of the HWP team and other medical providers your child sees, including their primary care doctor. Your medical provider will also review with you any lab work completed and discuss medical options if appropriate. These options sometimes include medication or bariatric surgery.

Physical activity specialist visit

You and your child will meet with an exercise physiologist at the second or third visit in the program. Your initial visit will focus on activities your child enjoys doing, current physical activity habits, current or future barriers to exercise, and assessing overall activities of daily living.

Your first physical activity visit will focus on education and sharing resources. In some cases, your child will complete a short exercise session. Follow-up physical activity visits will be movement-based and will take place in our teaching gym. The goal of your visits with the exercise physiologist is to provide resources and workouts that will help your child be successful increasing movement at home.

At every visit, you and your child will set short-term goals to work on at home between sessions. Your child will continue to follow with the same exercise physiologist as needed throughout their time in the program.

For any visits with the exercise physiologist your child should:

  • Wear sneakers
  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Bring any medications that can affect exercise safety (example: inhaler for asthma, blood glucose testing equipment for diabetes, rescue medications for seizures, etc.)

Registered dietitian visit

You and your child will meet with a registered dietitian between the first and third visit in the program. Your initial visit will be focused on gathering information gathering, assessing daily food intake and eating habits, education around healthy choices, and providing resources. Follow-up visits with the registered dietitian will continue to be education-based and tailored to your family’s needs.

Topics for discussion include:

  • Label reading
  • Portion sizes
  • Increasing fiber
  • Healthy choice alternatives
  • Eating schedules
  • Healthy beverages

At every visit, you and your child will set short-term goals to complete at home between sessions. Your child will continue to follow up with the same registered dietitian throughout their time with the program.

Psychology visit

Depending on your child and your family’s goals, you may also meet with the Healthy Weight Program psychologist. Your initial visit with psychology is focused on getting to know you and your family as a whole and includes questions about eating behaviors, exercise habits, challenges to making healthy behavior change, motivation for change, as well as questions regarding general well-being, mood, anxiety, behavior and family dynamics. Our team psychologist will continue to work with your family at various frequency depending on your needs.

Our psychologist specializes in addressing health behaviors specifically. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Emotional eating
  • Food sneaking/hiding
  • Constant hunger
  • Anxiety around exercise
  • Family conflict around eating and exercise
  • Mild picky eating
  • Binge eating
  • Difficulty setting limits
  • Behavioral sleep concerns
  • Motivation for healthy behaviors
  • Negative body image

Our psychologist does not treat primary concerns of:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Trauma

Our psychologist can help you determine if more general mental health support would be helpful for your child. It is common for a child or teen to have a regular outpatient mental health provider and also have a consult with the Healthy Weight Program psychologist.

Social work

Our social worker is available when needed and can help your family identify barriers to meeting goals and provide you with community resources.