About Our Program
The Pediatric Metabolic and 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
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
Approach to Pediatric Obesity
This virtual lecture series is intended for pediatric primary and specialty care providers and will occur on the first Wednesday of the month from 12:30 – 1 p.m
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
Fun & Fit Wellness Center
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.
Family Nutrition Program
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
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.
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.
Physical Inactivity Linked to Severe COVID-19 Outcomes
Physical inactivity is a stronger risk factor for severe COVID-19 than heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, and obesity.
Click the link below to find out the steps healthcare providers can take to support physically inactive patients.
- Understanding the Risk of Comorbidities in Girls with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- 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
- 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
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