Metabolic & Obesity

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.

Two adults helping a child learn how to ride a bicycle

Our Team

Patients and families are guided through the process of developing a healthier lifestyle and weight loss by a team of experts, including:

  • Pediatricians
  • Pediatric Endocrinologists
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Registered dietitians
  • Social workers
  • Licensed Clinical Mental Health Providers
Angelina V Bernier

Angelina V Bernier M.D.

Associate Professor & Fellowship Director
Phone: (352) 265-7337
Shannon F Patrick

Shannon F Patrick

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner
Phone: (352) 265-7337
Jacqueline Michel

Jacqueline Michel D.O.

Assistant Professor
Phone: (352) 733-1770
Michael A Tan

Michael A Tan MS, RD, LDN

Dietitian
Snna K Chahbandar

Snna K Chahbandar

STU AST- CLERICAL & ADMIN

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

Young girl painting on a wall

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.

Bariatric Surgery

When Diet and Exercise are Simply not Enough

Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program Logo

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

Young girl looking at a plate of vegetables

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., PRIOR to primary care lecture series (same Zoom link).

Upcoming Lectures

Date Topic Presenter
August 4, 2021 Mental Health Surveillance and counseling Among Patients with Obesity Sarah Westen, PhD
September 1, 2021 Adolescent Obesity Indication for Bariatric Surgery Moiz Mustafa, MD
October 6, 2021 Irregular Menses and PCOS Angelina Bernier, MD
November 3, 2021 The Macro and Micro of Nutrition Amy Aponick, MPH, RDN, LDN, CDE
December 1, 2021 IR & Prediabetes — Metformin Titration Practical Tips Tim Foster, MD
January 5, 2022 Intermittent Fasting Michelle Cardel, PhD, MS, RD, FTOS

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.

Five young boys running down a dirt road in a field

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.

IFAS Logo

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.

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Fitness Mini-Clinic

Kids playing in a grassy field

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:

  1. Providing equal access to evidence-based predictive tests for disease risk
  2. Engages children as young as 5 years of age in understanding the importance of exercise
  3. 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.

Resource

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.

ExeRXcise in Medicine Logo

Research Studies

Current Studies:

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

Appointments

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