Fourteen-year-old Natasia Goodin was nervous when she first started the Weigh Smart program at Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital.
“I was nervous because I didn't want to show how I looked. I always had problems with my weight,” Goodin said.
But she was quickly put at ease with the open and accepting environment. The 12-week program focuses on lifestyle changes, teaching kids healthy dietary choices and exercise.
“I used to love potato chips, I still eat them but not as much as I used to,” Goodin said.
Michelle Demeule- Hayes, Director for the Center for Nutritional Rehabilitation, explained that most of the kids who go through the program are referred by their pediatrician.
“A lot of the kids we’re seeing already have medical complications. They’ve got high blood pressure, fatty livers,” Demeule-Hayes said.
The Weigh Smart Program can be in an individual or group setting and offers a comprehensive approach to weight management involving medical, nutritional, educational and behavioral components.
Kids range in age from eight to 17 with a junior program for kids as young as two.
"Even though it may look sort of chubby toddler, overnight they’ll grow into eventually. We know a lot of those cases don’t resolve on their own,” Demeule-Hayes said.
As for Natasia, she knows it’s a process. But she has seen the changes and is now feeling confident in herself.
"My mom always told me you have to love yourself and I mean it’s just all about confidence and you just gotta have it," Natasia said.
To learn more about the Weigh Smart Program at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital call 410-578-5145.