UofL-Pediatrics’ obesity program helps kids get HEALTHY FOR LIFE!

Published on June 11, 2012

Over one-third of Kentucky children are overweight or obese. Kentucky is ranked second in the country for the highest levels of pediatric obesity. These numbers tell a story of need that UofL Pediatrics is striving to meet through its pediatric obesity program Healthy for Life!

The concerns about obesity are not simply cosmetic; these children are sicker at earlier ages. Kentucky has more sick and overweight children than most of the country and that reality is reflected in our patients’ medical histories. In the clinic, 95 percent of children have weight-related health problems. These include early signs of diabetes, abnormal cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and sleep problems.

HEALTHY FOR LIFE!

The Healthy for Life! pediatric obesity program helps families deal with the physical, mental and emotional realities of childhood obesity. It is a family-based program that recognizes that it is easier for children to lead healthier lives in the context of a supportive family environment.

The University of Louisville Physicians program is located in a unique space on the UofL Health Sciences Center campus. The facility has a teaching kitchen where families learn to stock their pantries and refrigerators, plan healthy menus, prepare nutritious foods and decipher mixed food messages from the marketplace. The program’s exercise physiologist helps children experience physical activity in a fun and safe environment. Patients are encouraged to test their limits and learn. Parents and siblings often join patients for games or workouts to learn how to carry these lessons home with them. Shower and locker rooms are on-site for convenience.

A psychologist holds individual and group sessions to help patients and families deal with the frustrations that come with being overweight and making healthy lifestyle changes. She provides coaching for making and sustaining healthy life choices and she addresses related emotional and behavioral concerns.

This care is provided under the watchful eye of physician Dr. Brooke Sweeney, medical director. “I bring expertise in children’s weight loss obesity complications and I coordinate with the children’s own primary care doctors,” says Dr. Sweeney. “Our patients also have easy access to pediatric specialists who can treat their weight-related conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.”

COST

Medical services at Healthy for Life! are typically covered by private insurance. Coverage for other services - such as classes and visits with our dietician, exercise physiologist, psychologist -are plan specific. The program also provides care on a fee-for-service basis.

WHO CAN ENROLL

All children are welcome with a referral from their primary care doctor due to concerns about increased weight. Call (502) 852-7309.