COACH Program Overview
The COACH Program is a multidisciplinary group of health care professionals who share an interest in helping children and families live a healthy lifestyle. Both physicians and support staff have made the decision to specifically work with overweight children. Beyond their experience, they bring enthusiasm and passion to their work.
All doctors are on the staff at Children’s Health and hold faculty positions at UT Southwestern Medical Center. This means that they not only stay abreast of the latest changes in their specialty areas, in many cases they are helping to develop new treatments and interventions.
The American Board of Pediatrics certifies all of the COACH physicians. Many have further credentials in Pediatric Endocrinology or Pediatric Cardiology. Children’s was ranked 18th nationally in Diabetes and Endocrinology among all hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.
Our COACH program is the only comprehensive program for childhood obesity in North Texas. In 2008, Children’s Health was selected to participate in a National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) workgroup to identify best practices in the treatment and prevention of childhood obesity.
What to Expect
Participants in COACH must be between 6 and 17 years old, and have a BMI that is at or above the 95th percentile for their age, height, and gender. They will be given a psychological test called the Readiness to Change Questionnaire that helps measure how motivated someone is to make the important changes in lifestyle that will be needed to lose weight and keep it off.
To ensure success, families will be expected to adhere to nutritional counseling and engage in vigorous physical activity. Guidance will be provided during the clinic visit.
If your child’s screening lab results are normal and do not require medical treatment, your child will be referred back to the primary care provider with continued weight loss efforts.
The COACH program provides for comprehensive treatment of childhood obesity using a multidisciplinary approach. It focuses not only on the child, but also the entire family. Living healthily together is a big part of your child’s success.
Education is an important part of treatment. Both the child and the family are given information on diet, physical activity, and how to set both short- and long-term goals.
In most cases, there will be follow-up visits with a COACH physician or advanced practitioner every 4 to 6 months to track how well the child is doing and to address any health issues that may occur.
Surgical intervention is a proven way to provide substantial weight loss in these adolescents. When combined with lifestyle changes, bariatric surgery can help adolescents reach a healthier weight, increase self-esteem, and reduce the likelihood of chronic disease.
Our criteria for surgical treatment follow the national guidelines. We have a team that is capable of long-term follow up of the metabolic and psychological needs of the patient and their families. This team includes the following: a registered dietitian, social worker, psychologist, and an endocrine medical team.
Our Bariatric Surgical Center works with adolescents and their families and the COACH clinic to provide medical, surgical, nutritional, emotional, and social support necessary for successful outcomes for adolescents who are candidates for weight loss surgery.