Diabetes and Obesity Program

Best Children's Hospitals US News & World Report - Diabetes and EndocrinologyThe mission of the Diabetes and Obesity Program is to develop, implement, and promote innovative and effective strategies to combat childhood and adolescent diabetes and obesity.

Obesity is one of the most important health problems facing our community today. Children are increasingly struggling with obesity and this is causing them many health problems that used to be primarily seen in adults, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. Our program seeks to prevent and help reverse the impact of obesity on our children. We are doing this by conducting research, improving patient care and reaching out to our local communities to provide expertise and resources to help combat childhood diabetes and obesity. Our program is a collaboration between adolescent medicine, endocrinology and nutrition.

Our program is aligned with research, clinical care and community outreach to provide a comprehensive approach. The multidisciplinary obesity clinic will provide unprecedented access to specialty and subspecialty physicians, dietitians, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and social workers -- all within one clinic. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and The Saban Research Institute are committed to helping fight childhood obesity and diabetes.

  • Fast Facts
  • Diabetes and Obesity Community Engagement
  • Diabetes and Obesity Research
  • News and Events
  • Partners
  • Resources
  • Ways You Can Help
  • Volunteer Opportunity
  • Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex.
  • One-third of children are overweight or obese.
  • Obesity is responsible for more than $190 billion in direct health care expenditures.
  • Approximately 20 percent of cancers in the U.S. can be attributed to obesity.
  • One out of five new cases of childhood diabetes is Type 2, formerly referred to “adult onset” diabetes.

The Diabetes and Obesity Program is working to improve health and wellness in the community. The goals of our community engagement efforts are to work in partnership with community stakeholders to:

  • Identify strategies to reduce the prevalence of obesity and diabetes in Los Angeles communities disproportionately affected by the diseases or conditions.
  • Enhance the prevention and treatment of obesity and diabetes by improving services for these chronic conditions and introducing innovative approaches to community intervention. 

Click here to learn more.

The Diabetes and Obesity Program offers families access to the latest medical studies, known as clinical trials, aimed at finding better ways to diagnose and treat childhood diabetes and obesity. Many treatments used today are based on the results of past clinical trials. Our scientific and clinical experts take the best ideas from the laboratory to the patient in the form of promising new treatments.

CHLA Clinical Research Studies

By searching our clinical trials, you may identify research that could impact the life of your child or another child you know for years to come. Because the number of available clinical trials for children nationwide is small, every participant makes a significant contribution. Ask your child’s doctor about clinical trial options that may be suitable for his or her condition. Please also check this page often, as new trials are added regularly.

If you have questions about clinical research or what it means to participate in a research study, you can visit our frequently asked questions.

Kids N Fitness Reunion – Cooking Challenge

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Kids N Fitness©(KNF) delivered its first reunion class on October 11th to about 35 children and their parents, siblings, aunts, and cousins.  KNF is a family-centered program designed to address the childhood obesity epidemic by empowering families to make healthy lifestyle changes. “By having a program that involves not only the child, but also the parent, we expose families to the same message to create long term behavior change” said project lead Brenda Manzanarez, MS, RD. At the end of every 6-week series, parents request “advanced classes” to empower and motivate them to continue these healthy changes that they have already learned in KNF.

The first reunion class provided the opportunity for families to engage in a hands-on cooking class. The class highlighted the importance of incorporating vegetables into meals, kitchen basics like washing hands and knife skills. Working together as a family they were challenged to create a healthy recipe and give their dish a creative name. Children excitedly presented their creations and dish name to the rest of the class. Future refresher classes will include family requests for trips to the grocery store, yoga, and preparing lunches for children.

KNF is always accepting new referrals for youth between the ages of 3 and 16. If you have a patient to refer, please contact Kelly Young at (323) 361-3174 or kellyoung@chla.usc.edu.

CHLA Diabetes & Obesity Program participated in the Super Run 5K!


The CHLA Diabetes & Obesity (D&O) Program partnered up with the Super Run 5K, a national series of 5K running events that partner with non-profit organizations to help raise funds and awareness for their cause. The D&O program raised approximately $5,000 at the Super Run 5K in Long Beach on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at El Dorado East National park.  The funds that were raised will support the D&O program’s mission in continuing to develop, implement, and promote innovative and effective strategies to combat and prevent childhood and adolescent diabetes. These strategies will be through research, clinical care, and community outreach.

The CHLA Diabetes & Obesity Program Veggie Bucks WON the KIND CAUSE $10,000!


Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) serves predominantly low socio-economic families where access to fresh fruits and vegetables is limited. The Diabetes & Obesity (D&O) Program at CHLA started a weekly Farmer’s Market to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables to patients, families, and CHLA staff. Because the cost of fresh produce is often a barrier to purchasing from the market, the D&O Program launched Veggie Bucks (VB).

VB provides a limited amount of subsidized funding and is available every Wednesday in front of the CHLA Farmer’s Market. The VB program gives patients, families, and CHLA staff the opportunity to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from the market for a discounted rate. Customers can purchase two veggie bucks (which are valued at $10.00) for only $5.00!

The VB Program entered a competition with the KIND Bar Company who donates $10,000 to a charity with the most votes. VB WON the Kind Cause Challenge in December 2016 with 4,440 votes! This gift from the KIND Bar Company will help increase the amount of VB that can be subsidized at the weekly Farmer’s Market. With this donation, we hope to be able to make healthy foods more accessible to families and staff, increase revenue for the farmers, and increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.

A big thank you to the Anet Piridzhanyan, MS, RD, Wellness Coordinator, Anne Cornforth, Foundation of Corporate Partnerships, and to the Diabetes & Obesity Program for all their hard work.

Kids N Fitness©, Lynda Fisher, and Cynthia Munoz honored at The American Diabetes Association Volunteer Awards Reception


The Kids N Fitness team was honored to receive the LEARN Educational Award from the greater Los Angeles Chapter of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for their successful implementation of Camp Strong, the ADA’s first Type 2 Prevention Camp offered in Los Angeles. CHLA’s Kids N Fitness team collaborated with ADA to create a family camp last summer utilizing the Kids N Fitness curriculum to educate and motivate youth and their families at high risk for diabetes to adopt healthier lifestyles. Last August, families came together at Camp Hollywoodland for a jam packed weekend full of learning, fun, and physical activity.

Families enjoyed a sleep away camp experience - hiking, arts and crafts, singing, and rock wall climbing, while learning about nutrition, diabetes prevention, and strategies for overcoming barriers to health.

Lynda Fisher, MD Vice Chair at The Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes, & Metabolism, who served as the Medical Director of Camp Strong and was instrumental in introducing Kids N Fitness to the ADA was also acknowledged as Physician of the Year for her over 4 decade involvement with the ADA.

Cynthia Munoz, PhD is the current President of the ADA’s President of Community Leadership Board, and was honored as Volunteer of the Year for her unyielding commitment to fighting for people who have diabetes.

CHLA’s Diabetes and Obesity Program is the First Interprofessional Team Award Recipient

This special recognition was created and promoted through the DAISY Foundation and CHLA is honored to be one of a handful of hospitals that are participating in this innovative team award. The Diabetes & Obesity Program partnered with UCLA UniCamp to design and implement a week long session of summer camp wit ha health and fitness theme. The Program successfully secured funding to subsidize the camp for CHLA patients participating in the EMPOWER weight management clinic, type 2 diabetes clinics, kids n fitness, and our community outreach program.

More News and Events

American Diabetes Association


The Kids N Fitness Program and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) have partnered to combat childhood obesity and diabetes at nationwide summer camps. In May, the ADA entered into a 3 year partnership with CHLA to license Kids N Fitness as the standard curriculum for their Power Up initiative that will be implemented in camps and community settings across the Country. Camp Power up is designed for children at high risk for type 2 diabetes and their parents. ADA regional leaders were trained by CHLA Kids N Fitness Master Trainers in how to deliver the curriculum and will be working over the next year to become certified trainers so that the program can be scaled. CHLA and ADA are working collaboratively to evaluate the effectiveness of the camp experience to ensure successful learnings and outcomes from children and their families at the camps. Families engage in fun activities designed to increase nutrition knowledge and empower families to make healthy lifestyle changes.  

St. John’s Well Child & Family Health Center

For the past three years, CHLA’s Diabetes & Obesity Program has partnered with the St. John’s Well Child and Family Health Center, a community clinic network serving low income residents of South LA, to support and help build clinic providers’ capacity to manage children and adolescents who are or at risk for overweight and obesity. A central component of this support has been the introduction of KidsNFitness©. CHLA’s D&O program and St. John’s partnered to adapt the KidsNFitness© curriculum to meet the needs of CADD patients and their families. St. John’s is offering the adapted KNF program called KNF4ALL (Kids N Fitness for All Learning Levels) to eight cohorts of CADD patients and families.

The Diabetes and Obesity Program has open volunteer opportunities. If you are interested in volunteering, please submit a request to volunteer with the Diabetes and Obesity Program through the CHLA volunteer office.

Learn more about volunteering opportunities here.

Patient Care

  • Kids N Fitness Program
  • Diabetes Support Groups
  • Teens N Fitness Program

Our Kids N Fitness program is an evidence-based, weight management program for overweight and obese children and their parents. Program goals include:

  • Reduce weight gain in overweight and obese youth
  • Promote healthier eating habits, more frequent exercise and a reduction in the behaviors that encourage weight gain
  • Provide support and motivation for families as they make incremental changes to foster a healthier lifestyle

This program meets at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and at sites in the community as well.

Type 1 Diabetes Support Group

The Los Angeles Chapter of JDRF and Children's Hospital Los Angeles offer a support group for children and teens with type 1 diabetes along with their parents and siblings.

For more information, contact outreachevents@jdrf.org

TEEN POWER is a comprehensive and interdisciplinary intervention. Children living with insulin-treated diabetes face unique developmental, emotional, behavioral, and cultural factors that impact how they cope with the daily demands of diabetes.

TEEN POWER offers psychoeducational and skills-based interventions, including workshop activities and discussion, to address diabetes-specific caregiver-child dynamics as well as emotional and behavioral barriers associated with participants’ optimal diabetes adherence. Groups are offered for adolescents (age 12-18) who are living with insulin-treated diabetes to address their distinct needs. Each group series consists of 10 weekly sessions.

TEEN POWER also offers parallel groups for parents/caregivers and siblings. Interventions are provided by an interdisciplinary diabetes team at CHLA representing behavioral health, occupational therapy, medical, and dietary specialists. Topics include effective child-parent communication, coping strategies, stress, depression, and diabetes burnout. Dinner is provided, allowing the team to help with child-caregiver communication around food and to promote effective adherence behaviors. The curriculum also specifically includes the development of goals around diabetes management behaviors.

Locations and Schedule

TEEN POWER@Sunset (4650 W. Sunset Blvd. - CHLA main campus)

  • Open to commercial insurance patients who receive routine diabetes care at CHLA only
  • Thursdays, 6-8pm

TEEN POWER@Wilshire (3250 Wilshire Blvd.)

  • Open to any Medi-Cal patient who meets criteria and who lives within Los Angeles County regardless of where they receive routine diabetes care
  • Wednesdays, 6-8pm

If you have any questions, please call 323-361-7791.

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Teens N Fitness (TNF) is an adaptation of our evidenced-based weight management program, Kids N Fitness©. TNF sessions include physical activity and a focus on developing consciousness about how the environment, marketing and policy contribute to obesity and diabetes in their communities. We believe that providing hands on activities, nutrition education, physical activity and discussions on health and wellness can resonate with teens in a positive and impactful way.

Sessions include topics such as:

  • What is Health?
  • Why do we eat and how much should we eat?
  • Marketing Tactics and Misleading Claims
  • (Mental) Health and Wellness
  • SMART Goals for Good Health
  • Cooking Skills – Top Chef Challenge

The CHLA Diabetes & Obesity program partnered with the just keep livin Foundation in 2016 to pilot TNF in three South LA high schools. Nearly all students who participated in the program demonstrated changes to their diet and shared their new knowledge with their families.