Pediatric Weight Control Program improves the health of two sisters and their family


The Margueis family of Mountain View, California was looking for a way to improve their unhealthy lifestyles. Their 12-year-old daughter, Sarai, was pre-diabetic and had a high body mass index (BMI). Meanwhile, their younger daughter, Jenny, at age 8 was also overweight. She had been diagnosed with asthma at two years old, seeing the doctor four times a year and on a variety of other medications.

The family decided they needed a change. That’s why in the fall of 2013 they enrolled the girls in the Stanford Pediatric Weight Control Program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. It’s a family-based, group behavioral and educational program, one that teaches lifelong healthy eating and exercise habits for overweight children, adolescents and their families.  The program, part of the hospital’s Center for Healthy Weight, provides services for children and adolescents ages 8-15 and requires the attendance of one parent or legal guardian over the course of the 6-month program. Their mission is to help overweight children and their families reduce any risks of related health conditions such as diabetes, liver disease and cancer, and ultimately, help children have overall better health and quality of life.

See a chart here about the criterion for the program.

“The program really inspired me to change my eating habits,” said Sarai, who made the commitment with Jenny after watching a powerful video introducing her to the program.

Although eating healthier food was hard at first, both girls knew it was beneficial in the long run and were up to the task.

Being pre-diabetic, Sarai told her mom that she wanted to complete the program before being officially tested for diabetes. She, along with her sister, eliminated all junk food from her diet, started drinking lots of water, and kept up with program’s exercise guidelines.

“I felt so proud when the doctor said I was improving,” Sarai said. “Now, I feel happy and healthy and have a renewed confidence.”

Both Sarai and Jenny have seen significant reductions in their BMI as a result of the changes they made during the program. They both exceeded the program’s average change of 6-8%. At the end of the 6 months, Sarai reduced her overweight by 9% and Jenny by 27.5%.   Additionally, Sarai is no longer pre-diabetic. She feels confident wearing clothes she wouldn’t normally wear before, and now enjoys shopping. Sister Jenny is off most of her medications, and does not see the doctor as frequently.

Parents Carmen and Eduardo also have benefited from the family’s change in diet and exercise. Carmen was considered pre-diabetic, had high blood pressure, and took medication for high cholesterol. Eduardo had high cholesterol and took medication as well. These problems were weight-related. Thanks to healthier lifestyles inspired by the program, both have lost weight and reduced their medications.

It’s yet another success story. Since 1999, more than 80% of participating children and adolescents have achieved age-appropriate weight reduction through the program’s approach. In addition, over 70% of overweight parents have seen a decrease in their weight and BMI – a big-time salute to the family-based approach.

“We are all so happy and relieved,” Carmen said. “I have much less stress.”

For more information about the program and to see if your child qualifies, visit the Pediatric Weight Control Program’s website or call (650) 725-4424

Discover more about our Pediatric Weight Control Program or call (650) 725-4424.


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