Weight management program

About 35 percent of school-aged children in the metropolitan Milwaukee area are considered overweight or obese

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overweight and obesity are the preferred terms for children who have excess body weight. If you are concerned about your overweight or obese child, Children’s Hospital has a program for you.

Being overweight can lead to serious medical problems – sooner and later

A child is considered overweight if he or she has a body mass index (BMI) greater than 85 percent for his or her age and gender. A child is considered obese if he or she has a BMI greater than 95 percent for age and gender. Calculate your child’s BMI.

The medical problems related to being overweight or obese can include:

  • Type 2 diabetes 
  • High blood pressure 
  • High cholesterol
  • Liver disease 
  • Severe asthma 
  • Joint and bone problems
  • Snoring and related sleep problems
  • "Dirty neck" appearance–thicker and darker skin, especially around joints, knuckles, armpits, elbows, knees and neck

What is the NEW Kids Program?

The NEW (Nutrition, Exercise and Weight Management) Kids Program at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin develops an individualized treatment plan for each patient. It combines the expertise of nurse practitioners and dietitians. The NEW Kids Program helps children ages 2-18 with medical problems related to obesity.

NEW Kids referral packet

The NEW Kids Program works to improve related health issues for your child struggling with weight

A dedicated team of health professionals works to improve the overall health of children with medical problems related to being overweight. Our NEW Kids Program will provide a customized care plan designed specifically for your child, because no single program will work for every kid and family. It is a goal to help your child establish both a healthier lifestyle and eating habits.

The NEW Kids Program uses a team approach to find lifestyle factors that may impact your child’s weight issues. A pediatric nurse practitioner will diagnose and monitor weight-related health problems.A dietitian will educate your family on lifestyle choices that impact your child’s health and help you make choices that can help improve health problems.

Getting started

Ask your primary care doctor to measure your child’s weight and height to determine if more testing is needed. If there’s a related health problem, like high cholesterol, elevated liver enzymes, insulin resistance or high blood pressure, they can refer your child to the NEW Kids Program.

Your first visit

You and your child will visit with a nurse practitioner, who will screen your child for medical problems associated with obesity. You will review results from your child's laboratory tests, talk about physical activity levels and discuss eating habits. The nurse also will ask about your child’s "readiness to change" to see if your family and child are ready for our intensive program at his time. This one-hour session will help define specific goals.

Follow-up visits

Sixty- to 90-minute sessions are usually scheduled every 4 to 6 weeks for 5 visits, but may be extended or shortened based on medical judgment and the patient's needs.

Weight loss is sometimes not the primary goal of treatment because children still are growing. The team's most important goal is improving your child’s health and teaching lifelong healthy habits.

Weight-management tips for families

Here are some tips for living well and managing your child’s weight.

Surgical options

If your child’s health has not improved after 6 months in the NEW Kids Program and following doctors' recommendations, your medical team may suggest surgical options. Your child must have reached puberty and grown to their final height to qualify.

Additional resources