NewsAnnouncements : WRNMMC Children’s Center hosts Healthy Habits Clinic

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WRNMMC Children’s Center hosts Healthy Habits Clinic


By A.J. Simmons

WRNMMC Command Communications

The Children’s Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center offers the Healthy Habits Clinic, which is designed to promote healthy diet and activity for children 6 to 18 years of age.
“Healthy Habits is a program for individuals…who have high or rising body mass index (BMI) or who have been diagnosed as being overweight or obese,” explained Leslie Lipton, a certified pediatric nurse practitioner at WRNMMC who helps organize the Healthy Habits Clinic.
The clinic, as Lipton explained, operates through the expertise of its core staff, which includes pediatric endocrinology, general pediatrics, adolescent medicine, pediatric nutrition, child psychology and MWR exercise staff. The goal of the clinic is to help patients improve their health and happiness through “behavioral lifestyle modification.”
“We know that the long-term consequences of obesity are likely to have significant chronic health effects, and the best way to combat these health effects [is] to prevent them,” Lipton elaborated. “Fortunately, in children, it’s possible [to] intervene and reverse obesity before the development of health comorbidities.”
The ten-session curriculum of the clinic can be entered at any time, with the first session serving as an initial intake that includes fasting labs, as well as an extensive history and physical examination. Follow-up sessions are then held monthly at the base’s gym. These sessions are usually held on the second Wednesday afternoon of each month and feature 60 minutes of group exercise, nutrition-based education and a complementary behavioral health module.
Each month also includes an opportunity for participants to review and modify their individual goals with a staff member of the clinic.
Lipton also pointed out that the clinic requires parental support and participation. Additionally, she encouraged having siblings participate together, “as we realize healthy eating and living is a family endeavor.”
“The clinic sounds intensive, and it is. But it’s also a lot of fun, and it works,” explained Lipton. “A recent statistical analysis demonstrated an overall decrease in BMI during and after participation in the Healthy Habits Clinic.”
Lipton noted that the same study also demonstrated positive behavior changes reported by the participants, including a decrease in sedentary behavior, improved nutrition and an increase in physical activity after participating in the clinic for three to six months.
Lipton spoke about the observed improvement in Healthy Habits participants, saying, “Our message is being heard and our participants’ changes in behaviors really do become ‘healthy habits.’”
To learn more about the Healthy Habits Clinic and/or the Children’s Center at WRNMMC, contact (301) 295-4939. Staff representatives are able to answer any questions and help determine if the clinic is right for you.