Wellness & Weight Management Program

The Wellness and Weight Management Program at Lurie Children’s provides compassionate and comprehensive outpatient care for families of children and teenagers who are overweight or obese and want to make healthy lifestyle changes. Because these necessary adjustments can be made at any age, we see patients as young as 6 months old through teenagers up to age 18.

Children look to their families to model healthy eating and physical activity, so we make sure that parents and family members are deeply involved in our care. We guide parents and their children through small steps that lead to lasting change. At each visit, we help families set health behavior goals related to diet and physical activity. We also provide educational handouts to help families through these changes.

The Lurie Children’s Difference

Research has repeatedly indicated that obesity is the most common medical condition affecting long-term health. We believe that with the right tools and information, a supportive family, a positive attitude, and the desire to change habits, all of our families can achieve their goals. Our multidisciplinary team works together to provide children and their families with the care and support they need.

What to Expect

Supportive families that make changes along with our patients usually experience the most all-around success. A compassionate environment and positive reinforcement are key elements of effective behavior change. 

Through our research we are working to find ways to better understand the needs obese children and their families to improve care. When you come for a visit, you will be invited to participate in our ongoing research studies.

First Appointment

During the first visit, the physician/advanced practice nurse will complete a thorough medical review and evaluation. Initial goals will be discussed with the family and any appropriate referrals will be made. Initial visits may last 2-3 hours; please plan accordingly.

Follow-up Visits

Follow-up appointments are scheduled regularly to assess progress and re-evaluate or adjust goals. Physical therapy may be scheduled during follow-up visits as needed. These visits may last approximately one hour; please plan accordingly.

Surgical Procedures

Lurie Children's offers bariatric surgery in addition to medical weight management services. Directed by Ann O’Connor, MD, this option is available for adolescents who meet established criteria and have not been successful meeting their weight goals with counseling and lifestyle changes. 

This multidisciplinary approach provides comprehensive care and includes the expertise of pediatricians, a pediatric surgeon, a pediatric nurse practitioner, registered dietitians, physical therapists, a psychologist and social workers who will work together to give your adolescent the care they need. Surgery and follow-up treatment are offered at Central DuPage Hospital.

Specialists

Patients and their families receive comprehensive obesity care which focuses on improving health habits across the entire family. Care is provided by a multidisciplinary team including:

  • Physician/advanced practice nurses
  • Registered dietitian
  • Physical therapist
  • Social worker

Helen Binns, MD, MPH, directs the the Wellness and Weight Management Program. She is a Professor of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She also directs the Center on Obesity Prevention and Management at Lurie Children’s. She completed medical school at Northwestern University, a pediatric residency and Ambulatory Pediatrics Fellowship at Children’s Memorial Hospital (now Lurie Children’s) and obtained a Master’s in Public Health degree in epidemiology at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Other clinicians providing care for this program include:

Conditions

Our pediatric specialists complete a comprehensive medical evaluation of our patients to evaluate for any obesity related conditions. These may include:

  • Diabetes
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Glucose intolerance
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Insulin resistance
  • Lipid abnormalities
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Orthopaedic issues
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Other genetic, behavioral, developmental or mental health concerns

Make an Appointment

To schedule a first-time appointment, please call 1.800.KIDS.DOC® (1.800.543.7362).  

To schedule a follow-up appointment in the Wellness and Weight Management Program, or for specific questions or concerns, please call 312.227.6450.

Appointments are held at Lurie Children's Outpatient Center in Lincoln Park and at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.

Our goal is to help children and their families achieve changes that lead to a healthier lifestyle.  We know that parents and family members lead the way for change and need to create a healthy environment for the whole household.

There may be a wait before your first Wellness & Weight Management Program appointment.

Try working on these 3 things before your first appointment:

  • Decrease sugary beverages
  • Increase fruits and vegetables
  • Be physically active

Please call us with any questions or concerns before your upcoming appointment: 312-227-6450

Here are some additional educational handouts for your review:​

Health for a Lifetime: Handouts for children/parents of all ages, with specific information by age and weight category

Additional handouts are available on our Obesity Resources for Primary Care Providers page​.

Learn More

Some additional resources for nutrition and weight management are:

  • Supertracker: A free tool to track your meals and activity, set goals and find additional recipes and ideas.
  • KidsHealth: Find more clinical information about obesity including food journals, how to lose weight safely and other supportive materials.
  • ChooseMyPlate: Find healthy recipes, nutrition news, ways to track your meals and ideas for physical activities from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • EatRight: Learn more about family exercise, food preparation and tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Philanthropy

Your support is vital in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. To learn more, please e-mail Ann & Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at foundation@luriechildrens.org, call 312.227.7500 or make a gift today.​