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The Clinic Experience

Weight ManagementInititial Visit: The first visit to the Children's Center for Weight Management will last approximately 3 hours due to the number of health care professionals that will work with the family. Given the lengthy appointment time it is recommended that parents bring a healthy breakfast, or healthy snacks and drinks for their children. The first visit consists of the below steps:

Medical Evaluation: All new patients will be evaluated by a nurse practitioner and a pediatrician at their first appointment. The purpose of the evaluation is to identify any underlying medical conditions or potential medical complications of being overweight for example diabetes or high blood pressure. Fasting laboratory tests may be ordered at this visit.

Nutritional Counseling: Healthy eating is an important part of the weight management program. Our dietitians will meet with families individually at every appointment to thoroughly assess current eating choices, to prepare individualized meal plans, and to address practical aspects of starting the nutritional plan.

Physical Activity Assessment: Increasing physical activity or exercise is also a key part of beginning a healthy lifestyle. Our physical therapist works individually with children and their families to assess their current level of activity and physical fitness and to create an individualized activity plan that is appropriate for the child's current health status. It is best for children to wear comfortable clothing to the appointment so that our physical therapist can teach them new exercises for improving fitness.

Psychological Screening: The pediatric psychologist evaluates the ability of the child and family to cope with psychosocial issues often related to being overweight, such as low self-esteem, peer-teasing, depression, parent-child relationship difficulties, as well as complications related to illness. Short-term individual and family therapy is offered in clinic to address specific issues related to health behavior change in families, and additional outpatient services are available, if needed.

Return Appointments: In general, we recommend that the child and family return every 6-8 weeks so that their progress with their goals can be monitored. Appointments with individual health care providers can also be scheduled to accommodate specific needs (e.g. meeting with the physical therapist weekly to assist with activity goals). Clinic visits are continued until the child reaches a satisfactory body weight.