Weight & Wellness

Weight and nutrition management is key to keeping your child healthy and happy. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of US children and adolescents who are obese has more than tripled since the 1970s. Obesity affects 1 in 5 children and adolescents — about 13.7 million.

At Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, the Weight & Wellness Program is here to help.

Your child’s needs are unique and our team of experts understands that. We’ll work with you and with your family to determine how to best help your child to have the healthiest future possible.

Our Weight & Wellness Program Focuses on Medical Weight Management to Help Your Child Lose Weight

Weight & Wellness is not a diet. Our focus is on medical weight management. That might mean helping your child lose weight, or it could mean stabilizing the weight gain to let their height catch up. Either way, our team of experts will help your family plan and maintain healthy lifestyle changes that you can stick with for the long-term.

Our program does more than help your child achieve a healthier body weight. Even if your child isn’t able to successfully meet weight loss or maintenance goals, they will benefit from receiving diagnosis and treatment for weight-related illnesses (comorbidities), such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

“You make me feel comfortable and not self-conscious about my weight and the way I look.”

—Weight & Wellness participant

Expect Support and Individualized Wellness Counseling From the Weight & Wellness Program

The Weight & Wellness program utilizes a multi-specialty, family-centered approach that recognizes excess weight as a chronic medical illness.

We provide a range of support services and care to children of all ages that are tailored to their individual needs, including:

  • Nutrition status evaluation and planning: Our registered dietitians analyze your child’s current diet, make suggestions about how to improve it, and help you plan for success.
  • Behavioral modification counseling: If your child is used to reaching for a snack when bored or anxious, they might need help creating new habits. Our behavioral health service team will help your whole family adopt healthier habits that will become automatic over time.
  • Fitness assessment and activity guidance: Exercise specialists will help determine your child’s fitness levels, suggest activities that they may enjoy, and encourage them to move more.
  • Help with overcoming your child’s barriers to success: Every child’s home environment is different. We determine obstacles that may be getting in the way of making healthier choices and develop strategies to overcome them.
  • Identification and treatment of weight-related health issues: We’ll assess and evaluate your child’s overall health and work with our physicians, nurses, and other medical providers to provide customized care.

Our Specialists

Peg M. Miller Evans, PhD

Behavioral Health
Weight & Wellness

Ruben E. Quiros, M.D.

Gastroenterology
Weight & Wellness

Debra A. Gartin, APRN

Pediatrics
Weight & Wellness

Candice K. Uribarri, APRN

Weight & Wellness

Make An Appointment

Make An Appointment

Ask your child’s pediatrician for a referral to the Weight & Wellness program. Once we receive the referral, we will contact you with more information.

Referral Process Info

You may also call us with questions about the program or requirements for participation.

Omaha Clinic Phone: 402-955-4080 | Fax 402-955-4078
Lincoln Clinic Phone: 402-955-8770

ENERGY Nutrition

Energy Nutrition Videos

Resources & Facts to Help You Support Your Child’s Weight Loss & Management Journey

Our ENERGY Nutrition workbook and videos provide guidance about topics such as reading food labels, serving correct portion sizes, and cooking healthy recipes to ensure that your whole family is getting essential nutrients.

 


Excess Body Weight and Your Child’s Health: Why Weight Management is So Important

Excess weight is more than a cosmetic issue. It can also lead to a variety of other health and medical problems, including:

  • Cardiovascular: Excess weight and poor nutrition can result in high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, which are risk factors for early heart disease.
  • Endocrine (Hormones): Excess weight along and a family history of diabetes increase the risk for developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
    • Also, females who are at the age of puberty and carrying excess weight should be screened for polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Gastrointestinal: Poor nutrition and increased intake of unhealthy fats contribute to conditions like gallstones and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Neurological: A child with excess weight can experience a condition called Pseudotumor cerebri, which can cause headaches, dizziness, and vision problems.
  • Musculoskeletal: Excess weight can cause a child to experience hip pain, knee pain, or limping. These are signs of a condition called slipped capital femoral epiphysis. Over time, a heavier-than-normal body can put stress on the bones and joints, leading to an increased risk for joint injury and fractures.
  • Psychological/Emotional: A child who is overweight or obese may struggle with poor self-esteem, depression, or anxiety. They may also develop eating disorders, such as binge eating or bulimia.
  • Pulmonary: Extra weight means the lungs have to work harder to do their job. This can lead to obstructive sleep apnea, or periods of ineffective breathing while sleeping, asthma and/or exercise intolerance.

If these conditions are left untreated, they can continue or get worse throughout your child’s adult life.

Why Your Child May Struggle With Unhealthy Weight Gain

There are a number of factors that contribute to unhealthy weight gain. These include:

  • Eating behaviors: Eating a diet that includes a lot of fatty and sugary foods makes it easy to take in excess calories.
  • Lack of physical activity: Lack of exercise is a key contributor to weight gain. Many of today’s kids spend more time on screens and less time moving their bodies.
  • Genetics: Genetic causes of obesity are rare. However, your child’s weight management team may recommend additional testing to see if DNA is contributing to excess weight gain.
  • Environmental factors: Lack of access to healthy, nutritious food during childhood increases the risk of lifelong issues with weight, as does a lack of opportunities to be outside and active.
  • Psychological factors: Just like an adult, a child might use food for comfort when they’re anxious, sad, or depressed.

What To Do Next

For Patients

Ask your child’s pediatrician for a referral to the Weight & Wellness program. Once we receive the referral, we will contact you with more information.

You may also call us with questions about the program or requirements for participation.

Omaha Clinic Phone: 402-955-4080
Lincoln Clinic Phone: 402-955-8770

For Referring Providers

Your patient must meet one of the following requirements:

  • BMI > 85th percentile with co-morbidities
  • BMI > 95th percentile alone

Provider referrals to either of our locations (Omaha or Lincoln) may be submitted via the electronic medical record. Providers outside of the Children’s system may refer using our online portal, Physician’s Connect.

Physician Connect allows you to access patient information and follow the progress of care for patients referred. It is connected to Children’s Epic Electronic Health Record and allows you to request lab and image tests for outpatients, request referrals to specialty clinics, and view test results in real time.

First-time users will need to complete the enrollment process by clicking “Request New Account” For help with referring a patient or if you are unable to log on to Physician’s Connect, please call us at 402-955-4080.

Make a Referral Online     Make a Referral Via Fax

After you have submitted a referral, our staff will contact families to invite them to an informational meeting about our program. The meeting will offer time for questions and an opportunity to schedule an initial Weight & Wellness Clinic appointment if desired. If our staff is unable to contact the family, we will keep the referral on file for one year.

For referral criteria or to discuss options for management of high-risk patients, you can reach the Omaha Clinic at 402-955-4080, or the Lincoln Clinic at 402-955-8770.

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