The nutrition found in whole foods can have incredible health benefits, especially for children with chronic conditions. The Integrative Health Program at CHOP is focused on harnessing the power of whole foods — minimally processed foods free from additives and artificial substances — to improve the health of children with chronic medical conditions.
Our program provides nutritional therapies for families who are looking to rely less on dietary supplements and instead focus on functional foods in their natural forms. All of our registered, licensed dietitians believe in the power of nutrition to help your child’s body work its best.
We take a “food as medicine” approach that’s incorporated into your child’s current conventional medical condition management. Our aim is to decrease the use of conventional pharmaceutical medications, help reduce the side effects of medical treatments, help support your child’s natural ability to fight and prevent illness, and improve outcomes.
What we do
Your child will first undergo a nutritional assessment that involves an in-depth evaluation of his food intake, lifestyle and medical history. Based on this assessment, we will make specific dietary recommendations that meet your child’s unique developmental, medical and growth needs.
We will work closely with your family to provide education and guidance in finding and adjusting to a nutritional therapy that’s tailored to your child. The nutritional therapies we currently offer are evidence-based, safe and effective and include the following diets:
- Anti-inflammatory diet: This diet focuses on reducing or eliminating foods known to cause chronic inflammation within the body. The diet also increases your child’s intake of anti-inflammatory and whole foods. Some of the potential benefits of the anti-inflammatory diet include prevention of chronic diseases associated with inflammation, as well as a reduced risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.
- Blenderized tube feedings: This is an alternative to commercial nutrition formulas. Whole foods are liquefied in a blender and administered by a feeding tube. Potential benefits include improved gastrointestinal tolerance and improved weight gain and growth.
- Feingold diet: This is an elimination diet in which foods containing certain additives are removed and replaced with foods that don’t contain those additives. The potential benefits include improved behavior and learning and decreased health problems.
- Other diets: We are willing to evaluate children on other restrictive diets to make sure the diet is safe, balanced and nutritionally complete.
Who we treat
Patients who might benefit from an integrative approach to nutrition include those with chronic diseases such as autoimmune disorders and developmental and behavioral problems, as well as patients of:
Our team is currently engaged in research that will help us better understand the role nutrition plays in a child’s health. We’re also working to identify new nutrition-based therapies that benefit particular patient populations.