MAYWOOD, Ill. – Loyola University Health System has teamed up with ProActiveKids (PAK) Foundation to help children and their families in the battle against obesity by offering a free program for children who have a body mass index (BMI) in the 85th percentile or higher.
The program teaches kids, ages 8-14, and family members fun ways to improve health through exercise, nutritional lessons and open discussion. Held for eight weeks, it provides commitment and support for families and addresses issues such as fitness, personal health, self-esteem and body image.
Kids attend a 90-minute program on Mondays and Wednesdays that is designed just for them. In a safe environment they are able to learn more about how to work out safely, gain confidence and skills in different athletic outlets as well as discuss relationships with food, self-esteem issues and other personal struggles.
On Fridays the whole family gets involved. For two hours most family members can participate in all components of the program including learning how to make healthy food choices from a dietitian. Sessions will be held at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital located at 701 W. North Ave. in Melrose Park.
“The program is a community-based, family-centered, short-term program that can help many families at no cost,” said Garry Sigman, MD, medical director of the Loyola University Health System Pediatric Weight Management Clinic.
To qualify for the program the child will need a physician to fill out an enrollment form that can be found by visiting www.proactivekids.org.
Although every child’s experience will be different, PAK is designed to improve the following five measures:
- Decrease BMI
- Develop athletic skills like endurance, strength and flexibility
- Enhance self-esteem
- Improve social behaviors like communicating, body image and self-esteem
- Facilitate sustainable positive nutritional behaviors and decision-making
“The PAK program provides the completion of our care continuum that we have developed at Loyola. The first line of defense is the primary care physician who can handle most kids’ weight challenges. If additional care is needed the pediatric weight management clinic can offer a multidisciplinary approach to care for children with the most severe obesity. PAK offers an additional resource for parents who need something more than office care, but less than the specialty clinic,” Sigman said.
PAK sessions will be held April 7-May 30, Sept. 15-Nov. 7, 2014, and in 2015 it will be held Jan. 12-March 6.