The Pediatric Metabolic & Obesity program seeks to treat childhood obesity and prevent serious comorbidities, through specialized assessment of underlying predisposing factors and tailored therapy with a focus on healthier lifestyles.
Patients and families are guided through the process of developing a healthier lifestyle and weight loss by a team of experts, including:
- Pediatric Endocrinologists
- Nurse Practitioner
- Registered dietitians
- Social workers
- Licensed Clinical Mental Health Providers
Angelina V Bernier M.D.
Shannon F Patrick
This virtual lecture series is intended for pediatric primary and specialty care providers and will occur on the first Wednesday of the month.
Treating Pediatric Obesity
The program effort is not solely based on BMI management but focuses on a comorbid-centric approach that determines the therapeutic decision plan for individual patients setting specific goals based on desired outcomes.
Comorbidities and Complications
- Fatty Liver Disease
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Insulin Resistance
- Pseudotumor Cerebri
- Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
- Hidradenitis Suppurativa
- Cardiovascular Disease
In 2019, we implemented a screening program to identify patients with a higher likelihood of rare genetic disorders of obesity through genetic testing.
The focus is not just on weight loss, rather we work with each child and family to develop healthier habits. We address behavioral modification, food monitoring, dietary and physical activity goal-setting at each visit. Medical intervention and escalation of care to the extended UF pediatric multidisciplinary clinics are available as needed.
When Diet and Exercise are Simply not Enough
The Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program is the only accredited Adolescent bariatric program in the state of Florida.
Our multidisciplinary clinic works closely with the Adolescent Bariatric Surgery program to support patients with severe obesity.
Bariatric or weight-loss surgery is recommended for patients with severe obesity defined by:
- BMI ≥ 35 with at least one obesity complication such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, hyperlipidemia, osteoarthritis or heart disease
- Or a BMI ≥ 40
Outcomes of Bariatric Surgery:
- 90% of adolescents can have long term weight loss
- Typically see 20-30% decrease in weight in teenagers
- Significant improvement or resolution of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, and musculoskeletal pain
Community Partners & Programs
Families are connected and enrolled in community activities and nutrition programs for support in-between visits. We schedule cooking classes where families can learn to cook simple and healthy meals together and grocery store tours where families can see how to shop healthy on a budget
The Fun & Fit Wellness Center is a resource booth in the lobby of the Children’s Medical Services Building (CMS) of UF Health. The center provides healthy eating, physical activity, and sleep resources to patients and connects them to community programs that support healthy lifestyles.
The UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program helps Florida families eat healthy on a budget. FNP has programs in 40 counties in Florida. We offer free nutrition education to SNAP-eligible Floridians of all ages.
Fun 4 Gator Kids is your local resource for family friendly events and activities in Gainesville and surrounding areas. Listings include kids events, children programs and classes, youth sports, kids eat free directory, birthday party resources, rainy day activities, free fun for kids, summer camps and MORE fun things for kids and families to do in and around Gainesville.
Physical Fitness Mini-Clinic
An American Heart Association scientific statement released in 2020 strongly supports the use of cardiorespiratory testing during clinic visits as a screen to predict current and future disease risk in children, but acknowledges the access challenges and cost of this testing. Guided by this statement and our own published research, we moved beyond traditional clinical framework and established a free physical fitness mini-clinic within the existing UF Pediatric Metabolic & Obesity Program. Our multidisciplinary team from the Departments of Pediatrics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has implemented time-efficient, predictive fitness-related health assessments that help patients and families identify SMART goals for lifestyle change. As part of this translational process of implementing fitness assessments in clinic, we aim to demonstrate how this new intervention affects the health trajectory of our patient population. In order to do so, we will create a redcap data registry for tracking the assessments, recommendations, and follow-up metrics to determine potential efficacy.
We anticipate that mini-clinic will improve the quality of the care experience by directly engaging children at risk for future diseases and disability in three ways:
- Providing equal access to evidence-based predictive tests for disease risk
- Engages children as young as 5 years of age in understanding the importance of exercise
- Assists children and families in identifying opportunities for better health through physical activity-oriented SMART goals
Tracking of follow-up response will help determine which recommendations are successful for the child and whether better lifestyle choices are being made to increase fitness.
Pediatric Weight Management Program
We have collaborated with UF GatorCare to offer an intensive weight management program for children ages 4-18 with a BMI ≥ 95th percentile.
UF Health has developed a comprehensive solution to help families tackle the many factors of weight management. Our team of Physician, dietitians, and psychologists will work together to provide a personalized plan to meet the needs of each family. Support and dedication are key to any lifestyle change, so consistent involvement with our team over an 8-12 month period is crucial.
Appointment schedules may vary from one patient to another according to their needs but the typical schedule for each patient is as follows. Note: Some visits with the dietitian may be done via telemedicine/virtual visits. Appointments with different providers do not need to be on the same day.
|Appointment||Appointment With||Length of Visit|
|Intake Visit||Psychologist to confirm enrollment||1 hour|
|1st Visit||Physician||1.5 hours|
|1st Visit||Dietitian||1 hour|
|2 weeks||Dietitian||.5 hour|
|4 weeks (1 month)||Dietitian||.5 hour|
|6 weeks||Psychologist and Dietitian||1.5 hours|
|2 months||Physician/APRN and Dietitian||1.5 hours|
|3 months||Psychologist and Dietitian||1.5 hours|
|4 months||Physician/APRN and Dietitian||1.5 hours|
|5 months||Psychologist||1 hour|
|6 months||Physician/APRN and Dietitian||1.5 hours|
|8 months||Physician/APRN, Psychologist, and Dietitian||2.5 hours|
- Understanding the Risk of Comorbidities in Girls with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Simple Tests of Cardiorespiratory Fitness in a Pediatric Population
- Metabolic syndrome in children with Autism, Autism Spectrum disorder, or Intellectual Disability
- The WATCH Study: Wellness Achieved Through Changing Habits
- FLIP for Preschoolers – a weight management program for children, ages 2-5 years, and their families
Upcoming Clinical Studies:
- An Acceptance-Based Therapy Healthy Lifestyle Intervention for Adolescents with Overweight/Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
- Improving Glycemic Control among Children and Adolescents with Obesity and Pre-diabetes with Real-time Feedback via Continuous Glucose Monitoring and Virtual medical Nutrition Therapy: A paradigm Shift in Care
Request an Appointment
To request an appointment please call 352-265-7337. Pediatrician referrals should be made to the Metabolic clinic.
Plan Your Visit
- Parking Direction (request a parking pass at the front desk)
- After checking in at lobby Kiosk please make your way over to the Fun & Fit Wellness Center near the elevator to complete the lifestyle screener
- Your doctor will review the information in addition to the referral information center over by your Primary Care Provider.
- Please bring a copy of any growth charts or laboratory studies performed prior to the visit