The SHAPEDOWN® Clinic at Children’s Hospital Colorado

What is the SHAPEDOWN® clinic?

SHAPEDOWN®, a preventive cardiology program offered by Children's Hospital Colorado’s Heart Institute and Weight Management Program, is a national weight management program for children and teens. The SHAPEDOWN® Clinic helps kids who are struggling with weight and their parents 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. We also provide emotional support in a safe and nurturing environment as you take the first steps toward a healthier child and family.

Each SHAPEDOWN® group meets once a week on Saturday mornings for 10 weeks. 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 their child.

Why choose the SHAPEDOWN clinic at Children’s Hospital Colorado?

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.

The group setting of the SHAPEDOWN® Clinic lets parents and kids interact with other families having similar weight challenges and goals. And because we see kids and only kids, all of our pediatric specialists understand and incorporate the medical and emotional needs of children into kid-tailored communication and treatment.

Our multidisciplinary team of experts 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).

What to expect 

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 them 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.

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 (see link for Physician Approval Form below). In order to participate in the SHAPEDOWN® program, children and teens must be of school age, able to participate in normal play and function in a group setting (with no severe psychiatric, physical or mental disabilities). 

All kids must have an initial evaluation with our social worker and nutritionist at least one week before to starting the group program. This evaluation lasts about 2.5 hours and will help 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 location in Aurora, Colorado. Some health insurance plans cover the program costs, and there is a discount for those who self-pay.

SHAPEDOWN® resources for families