Pediatric Weight Management

If your child needs to lose weight, it can be challenging to navigate on your own. At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, our specialists create a personalized treatment plan to help your child achieve and maintain a healthy weight. We work hand-in-hand with you to help you make lifestyle changes that set your child up for long-term success.


Treatment Options for Weight Loss in Adolescents

Children who have a body mass index (BMI) above the 95th percentile may be identified as obese. The good news is that many children can achieve a healthy weight through lifestyle changes, medication or a combination of both.

Your child’s weight loss treatment plan may include: 


Nutrition and exercise

If your child’s health care provider advises that your child lose weight, treatment typically starts with lifestyle changes. Children and teens may work with a dietitian to learn to make more nutritious food choices. Or they may work with a physical therapist to assess current activity levels and create a personalized exercise plan. 

Your child may also participate in a structured exercise program. Our specialists have designed two programs to support children and adolescents with weight management through exercise. Your child may participate in:

  • Kids N Fitness®
  • Teens N Fitness, an adaptation of Kids N Fitness® to meet the needs of teenagers

Medication

Some children may benefit from taking medications along with making lifestyle changes. These medicines might help your child feel less hungry. They may also improve your child’s metabolism to help use calories more efficiently. Or they may make it harder for your child’s body to retain extra fat from food.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved some weight loss medications for children ages 12 and older. Sometimes, we can also safely use medicines that aren’t specifically designed as weight loss medications but have weight loss benefits. Your child’s provider will explain all benefits and risks and answer your questions before prescribing any weight loss medication.


Access to Clinical Trials

Our specialists also have robust involvement in research. We are continuously looking for new and better ways to treat childhood obesity. Thanks to this focus on research, your child has access to new and promising treatments through clinical trials.

For example, we have led studies on how digital apps can help teens learn new eating behaviors. We also are studying how a specific diet called intermittent fasting may help prevent adult-onset diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. Learn more about endocrinology research.


Care for Conditions Related to Childhood Obesity

Children who have related conditions, such as diabetes or a thyroid disorder, may receive care from multiple specialists. We collaborate closely to ensure that your child has easy access to all relevant services.

Children who come to the Healthy Weight Clinic may also work with specialists in:


Children’s Hospital Weight Management Program

At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, our specialists have unique expertise in obesity medicine. Their special training means they can offer your child more treatment options. They know what treatments work well and have the experience to help.

We have one of the only childhood obesity programs in Southern California. We are also one of the only places in California where children on Medi-Cal have access to these services. Learn more about the Healthy Weight Clinic.