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IDEAL Clinic

The Improving Diet, Energy and Activity for Life (IDEAL) Obesity Clinic helps children and teens successfully achieve a healthier lifestyle and reduce the risk of complications related to obesity.

The foundation of the clinic’s care is education for the patient and their family. We teach parents and children how even small changes in behavior and habits have a positive impact on health.

Personal Patient Care
A multidisciplinary team of Children’s specialists works with you and your child to develop a personalized plan that meets your child’s unique needs. As well, patients have access to experts from other divisions at Children’s National Medical Center, including: The clinic staff coordinates with patients every two weeks for the first three months, then monthly for one year. Patients may also participate in the following clinic programs:
  • Dietary counseling
  • Group health education classes
  • Physical activity classes
  • Weight management counseling
There is no specific program that fits all patients in the IDEAL clinic but there are common themes proven to help children and adolescents successfully achieve a healthy weight. Sometimes medication and even surgery prove necessary, but at the core of every care plan is the effort to engage families in healthful lifestyle change individualized based upon the diagnostic information and both the patient’s and the family’s readiness to change.
Do you know your BMI?
Find out using the BMI Calculator

Referral Guidelines
The IDEAL Clinic is a weight-loss and health education program offered through Children’s Obesity Institute. We see children and adolescents, ages 2 to 18, classified as obese with a Body Mass Index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile in addition to the following criteria:
  • Elevated fasting cholesterol, triglyceride (TG), insulin, glucose, or hypertension
  • Unable to lose weight after dietary and activity counseling by their primary care doctor, nutritionist, and/or health educator
  • Elevated liver function tests (LFT)
  • Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) or Blount’s disease
If your child has hypothyroidism, short stature, or other endocrine disorders we can help with a referral to the appropriate specialist in the Division of Endocrinology.


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