SHAPEDOWN® Clinic at Children's Hospital Colorado
The SHAPEDOWN® Clinic, a preventative cardiology program offered by Children's Hospital Colorado Heart Institute, is a national weight-management program for children and teens. The SHAPEDOWN Clinic helps kids who are struggling with weight by providing guidance for health, nutrition, self-esteem, family communication and exercise. The 10-week group program (also available on an individual basis if preferred) is taught by a team of specialists and involves the whole family in care. We also provide emotional support in a safe and nurturing environment as you take the first steps toward a healthier child and family.
How does the SHAPEDOWN Clinic work?
Each SHAPEDOWN group meets once a week on Saturday mornings for 10 weeks. And because we believe that a healthy lifestyle is important for the entire family, at least one parent or caregiver is required attend the sessions with your child.
Our multidisciplinary expert team leading the program includes:
- Clinical social workers to help parents and other caregivers improve family communication patterns to provide emotional support, set limits, and help children manage problems such as weight-teasing, expressing negative feelings, and eating for reasons other than hunger.
- Therapeutic recreation specialists who design fun, game-like, age-appropriate activities and guide families in developing more active leisure time.
- A registered dietitian who teaches families how to have a healthier food environment and guides kids to be more aware of their food choices.
- A pediatric cardiologist to evaluate lipid abnormalities and hypertension (high blood pressure).
Continued support and follow up
After the 10-week session ends, the SHAPEDOWN program will include two years of follow-up care to support the changes your child and family have made. During the follow up we continue to help families become less food-focused and support you in finding more active, social and life-enriching activities. We also work to increase your child’s self-esteem and sense of responsibility.
When families complete the program, our goal is for them to find exercise and physical activity fun and have an active life, so that food, TV and computer activities become less important. Most patients leave our program feeling better about their bodies and themselves, and they’re able to make healthier food choices without feeling deprived.
See pictures of gym class, graduation and other parts of the SHAPEDOWN Program (photos courtesy of msnbc.com)
Why choose Children's Hospital Colorado for weight management?
The success of our SHAPEDOWN Clinic was shown by a recent review of patients and families who participated in the program. Among those children who completed their one-year follow up, 77% of kids had a significant decrease in body mass index (BMI), an indicator of body fat.
Plus, the group setting of the SHAPEDOWN Clinic lets parents and kids interact with other families that have similar weight challenges and goals. And because we see kids and only kids, all of our pediatric specialists understand the medical and emotional needs of children for kid-tailored communication and treatment.
About our referral criteria and your child’s first evaluation
Please note that a referral by your child’s primary care doctor is required. We’ll also need labs, weight history and records from your child’s last physical exam. In order to participate in the SHAPEDOWN program, children and teens must be able to walk and able to function in a group setting (with no severe psychiatric, physical or mental disabilities). School-aged children are most appropriate for the group.
All kids must have an initial evaluation in Children's Hospital Colorado Heart Institute at least one week before to starting the group program. During the evaluation, which lasts about 2 ½ hours, you’ll also meet with a social worker and nutritionist. We will discuss your family history, along with your child’s medical history, lifestyle, eating habits and exercise to determine the next steps for your family and if the SHAPEDOWN Clinic is right for your child.
Location and insurance information
The SHAPEDOWN Clinic is located at Children's Hospital Colorado’s main campus in Aurora, Colorado. Some health insurance plans cover the program costs, and there is discount for those who self pay. Learn more about the national SHAPEDOWN® Program.
SHAPEDOWN® resources for families
Download Children's Hospital Colorado SHAPEDOWN® brochure (.pdf)
SHAPEDOWN® physician approval form (.doc)
SHAPEDOWN® session dates and pricing (.pdf)