Weight management for the whole family

Doctors and registered dietitians designed the Penn State Children’s Hospital Healthy Weight Program for Kids and Teens to meet the specific needs of children with the medical problems of overweight or obesity. We help children ages 15 months to 18 years to reach their weight loss goals.

We focus on changing behaviors for the whole family, such as:

  • Smaller portion sizes
  • Being physically active
  • Less screen time (cell phone, video game, computer and TV)
  • Fewer sugary drinks  

At your first visit, one of our clinicians will examine your child and check for weight-related diseases. We will then create a weight management program focusing on improving the health of your child and family.

The doctors and staff at our Healthy Weight Program for Kids and Teens offer a range of treatments for children and teens who have overweight or obesity. We stress prevention and obesity-related health care, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Elevated insulin
  • Pre-diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heartburn/Reflux
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Deconditioning (shortness of breath with activity)
  • Sleep apnea

Your child will work with a doctor or physician assistant in our office. Depending on health problems, mental health issues and insurance coverage, we may connect you with our dietitian, therapist and/or exercise specialist, who are all a part of our team. If your child has a psychiatrist and/or therapist, we will work with them to ensure the best care possible.

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Our Experts in Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens

The experts at Penn State Children’s Hospital are committed to providing our pediatric patients with comprehensive and multidisciplinary care.

Why Choose Penn State Children's Hospital for Care?

Quality care from an Expert Team

Our program’s success greatly relies on you and your family supporting your child. We’ll share advice to improve your child's health, such as eating healthier and getting more physical activity.

We focus on helping you and your child to:

  • Make healthier food choices
  • Reduce portion sizes
  • Be more physically active
  • Make positive behavior changes

What to expect at your first visit

On your child’s first visit to our Healthy Weight Program for Kids and Teens, a doctor or physician assistant will:

  • Take a complete medical and family history
  • Examine your child
  • Review lab tests (ordered by your child’s regular doctor)

During your visit, we’ll suggest ways to reduce portion sizes and be more physically active. This first visit will last about an hour and does not include shots.

Nutrition counseling

Treatment focuses on changing your child’s and family's diet. After talking about your child’s current eating habits with your doctor, we’ll provide recommendations on how to change your child's dietary intake. Families may meet privately with a dietitian to discuss how to make positive lifestyle changes. Look for recipe ideas here.

Physical activity training

Our program will recommend more physical activity and less inactive activities, (cell phone, video games, computer games and TV) for your child and the whole family.

Here are some basic guidelines for all children and teens:

  • Get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • Slowly build up aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, dancing, treadmill).
  • Limit screen time (TV, computer games, and cell phone) to less than two hours per day.
  • Avoid watching the screen while eating meals and snacks.

Patient Education and Resources

Find education and resources for Healthy Weight Program for Kids and Teens at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

Children's Hospital Resources

Learn more about children’s weight loss at the links below:

Other Patient Resources

Find more resources for children’s weight loss below:

Nutritious and Affordable Snacks

It’s important to keep nutritious snacks around to keep for you and your children healthy. Here are some  delicious and nutritious ideas:

  • Any fresh vegetable with hummus
  • Bananas
  • Honeydew melon
  • Cottage cheese
  • Nectarine
  • Oatmeal (slow-cooked, not instant)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Apples
  • Sliced red or green pepper
  • Almonds
  • Baby carrots
  • In-shell pistachios
  • Hard boiled, scrambled or fried eggs
  • Watermelon
  • Grapes (freeze them for a different taste)
  • Sunflower and Pumpkin seeds
  • Cucumber
  • Organic microwave popcorn
  • Organic string cheese
  • Edamame (dry roasted)
  • Fresh or frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
  • Cherries
  • Dried apricots, pears or apples
  • Sliced jicama
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Radish
  • Tuna fish in a lettuce wrap

Referring Physicians

Find an Obesity Medicine Professional

Our doctors, physician assistants, dietitian and psychotherapist collaborate with referring physicians to provide excellent patient care for children and teenagers with obesity in central Pennsylvania.

Please refer patients (ages 15 months to 18 years) who require treatment for obesity and weight-related co-morbidities.

Use the links below to find other physicians and locations and share contact information with your patients.

Other resources

Support Groups

Support groups provide children and their families an opportunity to connect with others in similar situations. Learn more about the support groups offered at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

View All Support Groups

Our Convenient Locations

Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.

Find a Location Near You