Children with disabilities are 38% more likely to be overweight than their peers without disabilities, due to reduced mobility, balance issues, medication side effects, difficulty with chewing or swallowing, and food selectivity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Additionally, their levels of participation in physical activity programs and recreational and school sports are much lower than that of their peers without disabilities. Overall, individuals with disabilities are at an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, joint pain and hypertension.
Who We Are
The Fit and Healthy Clinic at Kennedy Krieger Institute is an interdisciplinary outpatient clinic designed to treat weight issues in children with disabilities by focusing on improving nutrition and physical activity habits. Our goal is to provide patients and their families with the skills they need to develop healthy lifestyle habits, resulting in a healthy weight for each patient and fewer risks to their health.
Who We Serve
The clinic treats children and adults 2 to 30 years old who have developmental disabilities and are at risk for developing weight-related medical conditions.
Our team consists of specialists from a variety of disciplines, with expertise in:
- Pediatric endocrinology
- Behavioral psychology
- Physical therapy
Our Treatment Approach
The clinic’s interdisciplinary team works closely with each patient to develop an individualized fitness and nutrition plan with realistic goals for dietary and lifestyle changes. When evaluating each patient, the team collects information about the patient’s medical history, eating habits, physical fitness level and medication use. The team also conducts a medical exam to determine if additional testing is required. Team members work closely with parents and caregivers to provide additional support and commitment.
Fit and Healthy Kids Group
The Fit and Healthy Kids Group is a 10-week program that provides educational exercise and nutrition games and activities for kids ages 10 to 18 who meet the group’s qualifications.
Participants receive interactive guidance from a physical therapist and nutritionist in this small-group setting.
Childhood obesity is a complex condition requiring a wholistic, interdisciplinary approach to lifestyle changes. Kennedy Krieger’s program sets patients and families up for long-term success by addressing medical, behavioral, nutritional and physical challenges.” – Anton Dietzen, MD, director of the Fit and Healthy Clinic