Mary Bridge Children's Hospital

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Pediatric Weight & Wellness Program

Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital is committed to helping every child live an active and healthy life. The Mary Bridge Pediatric Weight and Wellness Program for ages 6-17 provides access to specialists and health care professionals who have expertise in helping families make healthy changes. The program’s holistic approach can result in lasting improvements in your child’s health and quality of life.

Program Philosophy

  • Emphasizes overall health (physical/social/emotional) and well-being of the child or adolescent.
  • Highlights the strengths of each family member in order to support an environment that promotes healthy growth and development. 
  • Promotes living actively, eating in a healthy but not depriving way, and creating a nurturing environment that helps the child or adolescent develop and grow to his/her potential.

If you are concerned about your child's health and weight, talk to your doctor about your child's growth history and Body Mass Index (BMI). Click here to learn more about BMI.

If your child’s BMI is greater than 85% and they have other health problems or their BMI is greater than 95% your child may benefit from an In-Depth Medical Assessment and participation in the FAMILY WELLNESS Program. Click here for Instructions on Your Visit.

How to Participate in the MB Pediatric Weight and Wellness Program

1. Complete a Referral

Fill out a referral for the Pediatric Weight & Wellness Program. Current lab work will be required for the In-Depth Medical Assessment. Your primary care provider may choose to complete the medical portion of the In-Depth Medical Assessment or refer your child to Mary Bridge for this evaluation (completed by a Mary Bridge Endocrinologist).

2. Provide Current Labs

In order to evaluate the medical risk of extra weight, we need to assess how it may be affecting your child’s risk for diabetes, heart disease and liver function. The labs we require are fasting- this means no food or drink (exception is water) up to 8 hours before the labs are drawn. Labs required: fasting glucose, serum insulin, lipid panel and hepatic function panel. These labs can be drawn up to 3 months prior to your visit.

3. Complete and Return Assessment Packet

Questionnaire booklets addressing health history, weight history, lifestyle, behaviors, feelings and readiness for change are mailed to the family. Return the completed questionnaire booklets in the postage-paid envelope provided and complete the lab work.

If you would like an assessment packet mailed to you, call Pediatric Weight & Wellness: 253-403-1237.

4. Schedule Assessment

The family will be contacted by Mary Bridge Call Center (253-792-6680) and scheduled for a In-Depth Medical Assessment. Referral Authorization will determine insurance coverage and the family will be notified of coverage. Many insurance program cover the In-Depth Medical Assessment visit. Appointments are available : Wednesdays at 1PM and 3PM, Thursdays at 9AM, 11AM, 1PM and 3 PM.

  • We are often scheduling several weeks out.  If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment you may have to wait another 4-6 weeks.

5. Attend In-Depth Medical Assessment

Allow 2 hours for this visit. The child or teen should attend with both parents if possible. Wear comfortable clothing. The assessment will include:

  • An in-depth medical evaluation by a Pediatric Endocrinologist (if not done by child/adolescent’s Primary Care Provider)
  • Body measurements - height, weight, blood pressure
  • Fitness assessment - strength, flexibility, aerobic fitness
  • Lifestyle and psychosocial interviews completed by Registered Dietitian and Social Worker with parent(s) and child/adolescent.
  • Assessment summary review information gathered from the Questionnaire(s), In-depth Medical Assessment and the Interviews are compiled into an Assessment Summary Packet.
  • Referral to Family Wellness Group - Teens 12-17 years or Child 6-11 years, if appropriate
  • Referral to other community resources that support lifestyle change.

Family Wellness Groups

The FAMILY WELLNESS Groups are multidisciplinary programs designed especially for children, teens, and their parents. Participants learn to take charge of their eating habits and to become proficient in expressing and dealing with their feelings. FAMILY WELLNESS does not promote restrictive dieting. FAMILY WELLNESS guides parents in supporting their children through effective limits, nurturing, and communication. Groups begin with attending a weekly Core Group then continuing to meet monthly for a year. Monthly groups include 20-30 minutes of physical activity.

Core Group

Seasonal core groups consist of three consecutive weekly meetings and begin in January, April, July and October. Families get to know each other as they learn the basics of healthy lifestyles and communication skills. Families with children age 6-11 meet Wednesdays from 6 -8PM; families with teens ages 12-17 meet on the Tuesdays from 6-8PM.

Monthly Groups

After completing Core Group, families then meet monthly for a year continuing to build on skills for sustaining health and wellness.  Families are offered additional opportunities each month to attend informal activity groups focusing on physical activity, healthy lifestyle skills and connecting with others. Families with children age 6-11 meet on the first Wednesday of the month from 6 -8PM. (with some exceptions) Families with teens ages 12-17 meet on the first Tuesday of each month from 6-8PM (with some exceptions).

Individual Follow-Up and referral

Families that are not ready to enter a Core Group or are in need of additional help through out the treatment period will be offered individual follow-up and referral to other resources.

Referral to Outside Resources

When appropriate, families may be referred back to the Primary Care Provider or to other resources such as family counseling, further medical evaluation or other resources needed to overcome treatment barriers.

Program Costs & Assessment Packets

There are no costs for requesting, completing and returning an Assessment packet. Whether you proceed further with program entry or not, completing the packet may help you and your child/teen start a conversation about a healthier lifestyle and what changes you could make towards improvement. 

In-Depth Medical Assessment:
Below are types of services you may be billed for.  Your actual charges will depend on the service you receive and your insurance coverage for those services:

  • Medical Assessment: Level IV evaluation by endocrinologist
  • Facility Fee: associated with the Level IV evaluation
  • Nutrition Assessment: 1 hour of Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT)
  • Psychosocial Assessment:  We are not currently billing for this service

Check with your insurance plan to see what type of coverage they allow.

Please ask for help or contact our financial resources.

Family Wellness Core Groups and Monthly Groups:

A fee of $300 is charged for the year of programming that includes both the Core groups and the monthly groups. This fee is generally not covered by insurance, but may be covered by Flexible Spending Accounts.  Financial assistance is available. Contact the Pediatric Medical Social Worker: 253-403-4665.

For Providers

Pediatric Weight and Wellness does not provide restrictive diets or emphasize weight loss. We use a family wellness model. Our focus is on increasing evidence-based behaviors that support healthy lifestyles.

Please complete referral form and fax back to 253- 403-4700 or enter referral in EPIC.
The following lab work is needed:

  • Fasting:
    • Lipid Panel 
    • Liver Function
    • Fasting Glucose 
    • Insulin

*If you are an EPIC user the order set can be found under: Peds Weight Management