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Shapedown® Program

Shapedown® Program

A family approach to healthier lifestyle.

Facts ... About child and adolescent obesity

  • Twenty - seven percent of children and 21 percent of teens are obese, an increase of 54 percent in the last 20 years.
  • Fifty to 70 percent of the obese young will be obese adults. Family weight problems, severe obesity and the young person's age increase risk that the obesity will persist into adulthood.
  • The medical consequences of obesity vary. However, obese children and teens have an increased prevalence of hypertension, respiratory problems, hyperlipidemia, bone and joint difficulties, hyperinsulinemia, diabetes, and irregular periods.
  • The psychosocial disadvantages of overweight in the young include peer teasing, scholastic discrimination, low self-esteem and negative body image. 
  • Weight difficulties in children and adolescents are highly treatable when a family-based approach is used. Studies have shown that if the treatment includes parents and focuses on the family's lifestyle and communication, weight loss is maintained, on the average, even at five and 10 year follow-up.

Help your child get to a healthy weight.

Shapedown® is a ten-week program that can help children feel better about themselves. Participants will learn how to be more active, have more outside interests, and eat in a healthy pleasurable way. It also helps parents understand how to support their child in a positive way, be a good role model, and reduce family tension around the child's weight and eating. Shapedown® supports good communication skills between family members and encourages the parents to set appropriate limits for the child.

How does Shapedown® work?

Assessment: Parent(s) and children who meet the criteria take part in an assessment of their medical, social, psychological, and fitness needs.


Care Plan: Based on this assessment, a care plan is developed that identifies specific goals for the family and determines whether Shapedown® is an appropriate program for the family.


Families who are eligible for participation in the Shapedown® Program are offered a group program that runs for 10 weekly sessions of about two hours each. The team is made up of a registered dietitian, social worker and an exercise specialist.



Please call (313) 966-8161 for more details. Scholarships and tuition assistance are available.


Who is eligible?:

  • Children between 6-16 years of age.
  • Children with a BMI (Body Mass Index) greater than 95 percent. Children with a BMI between 85 and 95 percent will be considered if certain medical conditions are present.
  • Both parents and children must be prepared to make changes and attend on a regular basis.

Frequently Asked Questions:


Does Shapedown® really work?

Yes. Shapedown® is a program that has shown to produce significant long-term results that decreases relative weight, improves weight-related behavior, self-esteem, depression, and knowledge.


What if parent(s) can’t attend?

It is important that parent(s) do attend the weekly sessions. This is a program designed to change the habits of the entire family. Both the child and the parent(s) will have assignments to complete. If parents believe their child is the only one who needs to change, then the program will not work. Parent commitment is essential in making a real change in the child’s life.


What if parent(s) are not ready or willing to make lifestyle changes?

Then Shapedown® is not right for the child and family. The philosophy of this program is that parent(s) should not ask of their child anything they are not willing to do themselves.

What kind of diet will there be to follow?

Shapedown® is NOT a diet. Diets typically cause the body to feel deprived and, as a consequence, to overeat. Instead, Shapedown® supports the gradual adoption of appropriate food intake that provides essential nutrients based on the Recommended Dietary Reference Intakes and the National Cholesterol Education Program Guidelines.


What about exercise?

Shapedown ® stresses overall fitness, including endurance, flexibility and strength. Children and parents develop a more active lifestyle and replace television viewing and other inactive pursuits with family and peer activities, sports, projects and other interests.


Click here for a brochure about the program.

For more information or to register for the Shapedown® Program, please call
(313) 966-8161.

Children’s Hospital of Michigan Specialty Center – Detroit

3950 Beaubien

Detroit, MI 48201