'Let’s Get Healthy' Targets the Family in Addressing Childhood Overweight and Obesity

April 20, 2004

Stephen Cook, M.D., says childhood obesity is a family issue, and that a child cannot be successful in losing weight without the active support and a lifestyle change in the entire family unit.

The Department of Pediatrics at Golisano Children’s Hospital is promoting a healthy lifestyle program among its patients and their families to help combat the growing concern with overweight and obese children and adolescents.  Physicians are now referring select patients to Let’s Get Healthy, a free eight-week educational program created in partnership with the YMCA to aid overweight and obese children and their families in their effort to lose weight. 

Stephen Cook, M.D., a pediatric fellow at Golisano Children’s Hospital with a special interest in childhood obesity, created this program with the family unit in mind.

“Childhood and adolescent overweight and obesity is a family issue. Children are not isolated.  Their eating habits, their physical activity lifestyle, their self-esteem issues are all linked to their family,” Cook said.  “A child cannot be successful in losing weight without the active support and a lifestyle change in the entire family unit.  Let’s Get Healthy was designed to educate patients and their families on nutrition, and expose them to ways they can make lifestyle changes as individuals and as a family.”

The Let’s Get Healthy program promotes good nutrition and exercise for families with child(ren) aged 8-12, although younger and older children will be allowed to participate.  It consists of eight weekly one-hour educational sessions on a variety of topics including self-esteem, healthy eating habits and the importance of physical activity.  In addition, families are given a pass to attend any of the YMCA family programs and activities each week. 

In addition to the pediatric practices at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong, Highland Family Medicine Practice, Culver Medical Group and Rochester General Pediatric Associates are also referring patients to the program. The program is held at three city YMCAs (Southwest, Carlson Metro Center, Maplewood), and membership is not required to participate in this free program.

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Germaine Reinhardt
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