Get to Know the Pediatric Fitness Clinic
The health problem affecting the greatest number of today’s youth is excessive weight gain and poor physical fitness. As a result of poor nutrition and inadequate exercise, children are at increased risk for diseases previously associated with adulthood at a disturbingly young age.
Today, the majority of children fall short when it comes to meeting the current physical activity and dietary guidelines for Americans. As a result, childhood obesity has tripled in the last three decades along with a child’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and high cholesterol. In fact, research now indicates this may be the first generation of children to have a shorter life span than their parents. However, when addressed early, many of these health conditions can be avoided.
A dedicated team of UW health professionals can help.
The Pediatric Fitness Clinic is a unique collaboration between UW Health Sports Medicine and the American Family Children’s Hospital. The Pediatric Fitness Clinic sees children aged 5 to18, who have concerns regarding their weight, want to improve their nutrition and fitness, or have developed medical problems due to inactivity and weight gain.
The team consists of pediatricians, exercise physiologists and registered dietitians that work with the family to develop an individualized plan to meet the child’s needs. The focus is on lifestyle changes in eating and activity levels to help the family work through personal challenges and obstacles. Fitness and body composition outcomes are monitored and progress towards goals are evaluated on an ongoing basis.
An initial appointment includes:
- Health assessment: The physician performs an initial assessment and physical exam to evaluate medical status, associated medical complications, and assess nutrition and fitness concerns.
- Body composition: A body scan is performed to evaluate and track changes in the child’s muscle, bone and fat.
- Exercise: The child walks on a treadmill to evaluate cardiovascular fitness. Based on the treadmill test results and their activity history, the exercise physiologists develop exercise goals and a personalized fitness action plan.
- Nutrition: A registered dietitian reviews the child’s current eating patterns and food habits and develops realistic goals for healthy balanced eating.
Follow-up visits are coordinated by the care team and the family. Return visits may be scheduled as frequently as every 1-2 months to monitor progress and review goals or 6-12 months for evaluation of program maintenance and testing.
Afterschool Exercise Programs
Fun afterschool monitored exercise programs are also available. These are held in both the exercise science lab and indoor swimming pool.