KidShape returns to Penn State Hershey campus this fall

Childhood obesity has become one of the nation’s most pressing public health issues. The percentage of children and adolescents who are overweight has increased dramatically from 5.7 percent in 1980 to 17 percent in 2008 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To address the epidemic of childhood obesity and help children struggling with weight issues, Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital and PinnacleHealth are partnering with Highmark to offer KidShape, a nine-week program for families with overweight children between the ages of 6 and 14.

A registered dietician, mental health professional and physical activity specialist work together to help families adopt better nutrition habits and engage in more frequent physical activity while providing group and peer support. Children can earn prizes, play fun games, sample healthy foods and learn about nutrition. Kidshape has shown effectiveness in helping families improve their eating and exercise habits. Eighty-seven percent of students lose weight during the nine-week session, and children who return for follow-up sessions report maintaining weight or continuing weight loss, one and a half to two and a half years after the program ends.

The program is open to all families regardless of insurance coverage. A $10 registration fee is required of each family and is refunded upon completion. Participants do not need to have insurance to participate in the program. Children’s Hospital will open the program up to 20 families every Monday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. from Sept. 10 to Nov. 5 at the University Conference Center.

For more information, contact Dawn Kleinfelter at x6321 or dkleinfelter@hmc.psu.edu.

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Last Updated July 11, 2012