The St. Christopher's Healthy Kids and Teens Weight Program offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and community-based approach to helping children and adolescents struggling with weight issues and medical problems related to excess weight. Families will find encouraging and uplifting opportunities to engage with our amazing team in ways that can change the direction of their child's life and health. Our program has two treatment options: medical weight program (non-surgical) and weight loss surgery program.
Medical Weight Program (Non-Surgical)
At St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, our medical team will identify medical issues contributing to weight gain and correct them, when possible. They will help the patients and their families make healthier dietary selections, offer additional activity options, and help to modify excess screen time. Medications may be prescribed to help with weight loss.
Weight Loss Surgery
Weight loss surgery may be the best approach to long-term weight loss for children or teens who suffer from more severe obesity and have related medical problems (such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, or high cholesterol). The journey to surgery takes about six months and includes an evaluation with medical specialists and a weight loss surgeon. The child or teen will visit a dietitian monthly for six months and be evaluated by a behavioral health specialist. A laparoscopic gastric sleeve operation is today's most frequent weight loss procedure performed for children and teens.
Why choose weight loss surgery for children and teens?
- Research has shown that bariatric surgery is more effective when done early rather than delayed until adulthood.
- Weight-related illnesses such as sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, and high cholesterol are often resolved by weight loss surgery.
- Self-esteem, quality of life, and psychological status are likely to improve in patients.
What to Expect for Pediatric and Adolescent Weight Loss Surgery
- We will first complete a thorough evaluation of your child or teen, including a past medical history, food intake, physical activity level, blood levels, and vitamin/mineral levels. Other specialty evaluations will be scheduled if necessary.
- Our dieticians will conduct monthly dietary instruction visits with your child or teen for six consecutive months.
- We may recommend weight loss surgery for patients with severe obesity, with a BMI greater than 40 with or without obesity-related medical problems, or with a lower weight if they have severe medical problems such as sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, or high cholesterol.
- Typically, patients stay at St. Chris one to two nights after surgery so we can control pain and monitor other medical conditions.
- Once discharged, patients may return to school and all other activities for two to three weeks.
- After surgery, our team follows up with monthly in-clinic visits, and then tailors future visits to the patient’s needs.
- We recommend weight loss surgery patients have lifetime follow-up visits for nutrition monitoring.