Childhood Obesity Program with West Cook YMCA | News | Loyola Medicine

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

West Cook YMCA and Loyola Medicine Partner on New Childhood Obesity Program

Healthy Weight and Your Child Pilot Program Starting at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital

Child looking at fruits, vegetables and a hamburger

MELROSE PARK, IL – In September, the West Cook YMCA and Loyola Medicine will begin offering Healthy Weight and Your Child, the first pilot program in Illinois designed to empower children between the ages of 7-13, with the support from their families, to reach a healthy weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

With the generous support of Loyola Medicine, Healthy Weight and Your Child will be held at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park. In addition to referring patients to the program, Loyola is also sponsoring scholarships so low-income families can participate.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States—triple the rate from just one generation ago. Today, one in six children are obese and one in three are overweight. These children are at greater risk for a number of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and mental health issues.

“The West Cook YMCA has a long history of advancing the health and well-being of children in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Maywood and surrounding communities, and helping children reach a healthy weight is important now more than ever,” said Phillip Jimenez, president/CEO, West Cook YMCA. “Healthy Weight and Your Child will help children experience improved health outcomes and higher self-esteem, and families will feel empowered to make and support healthier choices.”

The 25-session program engages the whole family, so together they can understand how the home environment and other factors influence the choices that lead to a healthy weight. The program focuses on three elements—healthy eating, regular physical activity and behavior change.

"The prevalence of pediatric obesity is alarming," said Mary Crisostomo, APN, a pediatric nurse practitioner and clinical director of Loyola's pediatric weight management program. "We applaud the West Cook YMCA for offering this important opportunity for families to get healthy together and maintain their improved health through wonderful YMCA programming. This partnership is another way the community and healthcare providers can proactively advocate for our children to live long, happy, healthy lives."

Made up of groups of eight to 15 children and their parents/caregivers, the program creates a safe, fun and active environment for children and their families to explore and adopt proven methods for living a healthier lifestyle. Sessions are two hours in length, with the first hour delivered in a classroom setting and the second hour focused on physical activity.

Children eligible for the program must be between the ages of seven and 13, have a body mass index greater than or equal to the 95th percentile for their age, receive approval from their doctor or a healthcare provider and be accompanied by a parent or caregiver at every session.

The first session at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital will begin September 19, 2017 and the first session at West Cook YMCA will begin late September. For more information contact Jenny Kraak, Chronic Disease Program Coordinator, West Cook YMCA, at or 708-434-0249 or visit

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.