Wednesday, October 29, 2014

One Year Into Our Office's Ministry Funded Childhood Obesity Program

A little over a year ago our office launched the Family Reset program - a program designed to work with the parents of 5-12 year old children whose weights are of concern. Some parents were worried about their children's potential future health concerns. Others were worried about current weight related bullying or self-esteem issues and weren't sure how best to help their kids. We wanted to put together a program and a team of health professionals to address all aspects of weight - from health to bias, from body image to fitness. Briefly, the fully funded (there's zero cost to families) program's highlights include:
  • All parents are followed by a physician.
  • All parents receive 6 months of unlimited one-on-one counselling from a registered dietitian, behaviourist and exercise specialist who will work on family health, parenting, nutrition, healthy active living and the cultivation of healthy attitudes surrounding weight and body image. Parents will continue to meet with all team members following those 6 months at prescribed intervals, but if the need arises, emergently as well.
  • All parents who themselves have overweight or obesity will be provided with BMI’s existing 6 month behavioural weight management program which also includes unlimited access to all team members, as well as on-site group fitness classes three times weekly for 6 months.
  • Five group classes for children, led by a specialized social worker/behaviourist with sessions focusing on self-esteem, anti-bullying, body image and stereotypes, depression, anxiety, and anger management. There will be no emphasis or discussion on weight at these meetings aside from how weight might play into the emotions and issues being discussed.
  • One group class for adults with overweight or obesity led by a clinical psychologist on common psychological roadblocks to self-efficacy.
  • Ten hours of one-on-one therapy with a clinical psychologist for parents struggling with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety as improving the treatment of mood disturbances will likely improve those parents' interactions with their children
  • Seasonal group fitness outings designed for families led by exercise specialists to introduce families to different active living options.
  • Two group cooking classes for all parents at a rented outside facility designed to teach basic cooking and meal preparation skills. Thanks too to the generosity of best selling cookbook authors Greta and Janet Podleski, each family will receive a free copy of their latest compilation The Looneyspoons Collection which was Canada's best-selling cookbook of 2012.
Today I wanted to touch on the outcomes to date.

While we haven't yet done any statistical crunching, the outcomes are pretty much what one might expect. Many kids lost weight. Some kids stopped gaining weight. Some kids continued to gain but gained more slowly. Some kids weights and gains didn't see change. That range makes sense too because parenting is fairly described as role model, guide, support and then hope for the best. Put another way, as every parent knows, no matter how badly we want something from or for our children, there simply isn't any way to guarantee we can make it happen.

The adults too had outcomes across the board. From small losses, to one couple who together over the course of their year with us, lost 191 lbs.

But one thing I'm confident of, every single family coming through our Family Reset program, learned how to approach health and weight free from nonsense, free from weight-bias, and learned how to improve upon their family's lifestyles in a manner that was body-image and self-esteem friendly, and one which regardless of weight, benefits health.

Ottawa parents, if you have a child 12 and under whose weight places them in the 85th percentile (for a calculator click here) or higher and would like to be considered for our Family Reset program please give our office a call at 613-730-0264, or send Tori an email and we will quickly contact you to set up an appointment to discuss our program further.

[And Ottawa folks, please feel free to share this post with your various social networks - we still have spots available for this year's programming and would love to help.]

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