Kids can kick the weight in the new year

January 04, 2012

Childhood obesity has become one of the nation’s most pressing public health issues. The percentage of children and adolescents ages 2-19 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, National Center for Health Statistics. To address the epidemic of childhood obesity and help children struggling to deal with weight issues, Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital and PinnacleHealth are partnering with Highmark to offer KidShape®.

KidShape is a nine-week program, sponsored through Highmark Incorporated, for families with overweight children ages 6 to 14. A registered dietitian, a mental health professional, and a physical activity specialist work together as a team to help families adopt better nutrition habits and engage in more frequent physical activity while providing group and peer support. During the program children can earn prizes, play fun games, sample healthy foods and learn about nutrition.

Developed in California in 1987 by a pediatric endocrinologist, KidShape has shown effectiveness in helping families improve their eating and exercise habits. Eighty-seven percent of students lose weight during the nine-week program, 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.

Kidshape is open to all families regardless of insurance coverage. A $10 registration fee is required of each family to secure a spot in the upcoming program and is refunded upon successful completion of the program. Participants do not need to have insurance to participate in the program.

The Children’s Hospital will offer KidShape for up to 20 families every Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 26 through March 22 at the University Conference Center. There will be fall, winter and spring sessions. Anyone interested in learning more about the KidShape program is encouraged to call Danielle Ehrgood at 717-531-1595 or email

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 10, 2012