Metabolic & Obesity

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. 


About Us

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

Assistant Professor, and Fellowship Director

Angelina Bernier, M.D.

Angelina Bernier

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner

Shannon Patrick, ARNP

Shannon Patrick

Assistant Professor

Jacqueline Michel, D.O.

Jacqueline Michel

Dietitian

Michael Tan, MS, RD, LDN

Michael Tan

VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR

Abhaya Dilip

Abhaya Dilip

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

Prediabetes

Prediabetes occurs when the level of sugar (glucose) in your blood is too high, but not high enough to be called diabetes.

Hyperlipidemia

A condition in which there are high levels of fat particles (lipids) in the blood.

Fatty Liver Disease

An increased buildup of fat in the liver.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

A hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a problem in which your breathing pauses during sleep. This occurs because of narrowed or blocked airways.

Insulin Resistance

A resistance to the hormone insulin, resulting in increasing blood sugar.

Pseudotumor Cerebri

A condition in which the pressure inside the skull is increased. The brain is affected in a way that the condition appears to be, but is not, a tumor.

Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis

Separation of the ball of the hip joint from the thigh bone (femur) at the upper growing end (growth plate) of the bone.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

A chronic skin condition featuring lumps in places such as the armpits or groin.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the broad term for problems with the heart and blood vessels.

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.

Clinical Exercise Support

As poor fitness may impede long-term success in weight loss programs, we have developed an internship program in collaboration with UF Health Sports Performance Center that will provide additional exercise support to help patients achieve higher levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Community Partners

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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Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program Logo

Bariatric Surgery: 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

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

The Future of Our Program

Gator Care and UF Health Logos

UF Health GatorCare – 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.

What to Expect?

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 a 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.

Visit Schedule

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

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