Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Program
There are many different factors that lead to overweight and obesity in children. In order to help our children be healthy- whether the goal is to prevent excess weight gain in a normally-developing child or to prevent onset of diabetes in an obese child- we need to work on many levels. We offer high-quality obesity management with counseling strategies and medical management that is in keeping with expert guidelines. We engage not only our patients but also the families and communities to which they belong, working with community partners to create more opportunities for our patients. And lastly, we have an active research program surrounding pediatric research.
Why Families Choose Us
Support from a compassionate multidisciplinary team
- Children with obesity and related health issues such as high cholesterol or pre-diabetes receive care and counseling over the course of a year. Patients have access to a multidisciplinary team of physicians, a pediatric nurse practitioner, a dietitian, an exercise specialist, a psychologist, and support staff—all of whom work together to provide individualized family support for obesity and obesity-related conditions.
- During the initial evaluation and assessment, you'll be able to build a relationship with a healthcare professional who will help you set and maintain program goals. The HEAL Program offers a series of appointments for nutrition education, physical activity, emotional support, and follow-up services.
- In addition, we also offer care for children who have abnormally high cholesterol, also known as hyperlipidemia, which can run in families.
From experience, we know that patients are more successful at improving their health when they are linked to appropriate resources in their community. For example:
- We partner with the YMCA of Downtown Oakland, a community-based charitable program committed in serving children, teens, and families with a variety of recreational and educational services.
- In partnership with Phat Beets, a community garden program, teens have the opportunity to participate in an internship program where they learn gardening skills, do physical activity, learn about healthy eating, and participate in a food justice curriculum.
- We partner with Girls on the Run, a non-competitive program focused on motivating and building self-esteem in 9-11 year old girls.
- We partner with Endurance, A Sports and Psychology Center, a program that offers patients and their families opportunities for bike trips, swim training, and running trips.
- We partner with Dancin’ Power, a Program that uses the physical and mental benefits of dance by teaching specially developed interactive dance workshops to patients and their families as away to improve the quality of life.
Expertise and Experience
We are passionate about offering our patients the latest evidence-based care. We work in collaboration with clinics like ours across the country such as the Expert Exchange, which is sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight and the Children’s Hospital Association. Together, we work to develop best practices in pediatric obesity management.
We have an active research program that has ranged from clinical research about factors contributing to cardiometabolic risk in high-risk populations that is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to community-based research funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation looking at ways to improve the food environment and physical environment that surrounds children.
Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Program FAQs
What is Healthy Eating Active Living?
Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) is a multi-disciplinary program that is designed to prevent and treat childhood obesity and related illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Patients referred to HEAL receive care and counseling over the course of six visits, with follow-up visits at three and six months after completion of the program. Each visit lasts one hour. During the visit, the child and parent/guardian will meet a physician or pediatric nurse practitioner, as well as one of the team specialists: a dietitian, exercise specialist or psychologist.
Who is eligible for Healthy Eating Active Living?
The program is open to youth between the ages of 2 and 18 who are obese or overweight. Youth who are normal weight but have a family risk factors for hyperlipidemia, hypertension or diabetes are also eligible.
Patients are considered medically obese when their body mass index, commonly referred to as BMI, is greater than 95% of their peer in the same age group. Children who fall between the BMI-for-age in the 85th to 94th percentile are considered overweight.
What insurance does Healthy Eating Active Living accept?
HEAL participates in MediCal, CCS, several Managed MediCal plans and most commercial insurance plans and medical groups. An authorization is sometimes required before services can be provided and we will work with you and your child’s pediatrician to secure the necessary authorization.
What happens during the office visits?
Group Visits: Families who are referred to our Oakland site start the program by attending two group visits. The first group visit is an orientation to our program, and the second is a class with the dietitian which is centered around concrete tips for healthy food preparation.
Clinic Visit 1: Initial Evaluation and Assessment A healthcare professional builds a relationship with the patient and family. The visit includes a thorough physical exam and establishes program goals.
Clinic Visit 2: Nutrition A registered dietitian discusses healthy eating choices, including current food options and offers an individualized nutrition plan.
Clinic Visit 3: Physical Activity An exercise specialist discusses active living habits and offers exercise prescriptions.
Clinic Visit 4: Feelings and Families A mental health specialist discusses body image and self-esteem, as well as parenting, family dynamics and cultural issues.
Clinic Visit 5: Healthy Lifestyle Families discuss with the dietitian or exercise specialist their progress in self-managing their goals or how to modify them as needed.
Clinic Visit 6: Summary Visit The team and family assess accomplishments and progress toward goals, and develop a plan for sustaining healthy eating and active living habits.
Clinic Visits 7 & 8: Follow up Three and six months to assess healthy lifestyle changes. Patients may be scheduled for additional follow up visits, depending on their progress, insurance/authorization(s) and commitment to the program.
How can my child access HEAL?
A referral from your child’s pediatrician is required. As well, we will need some recent records and lab work to schedule your child in Healthy Eating Active Living.