We provide medication and surgery to help teens who have had significant weight gain.
When a child’s weight is a significant health concern, doctors may recommend medical intervention. The care team at the Adolescent Healthy Weight Program, part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, understands the challenges of severe obesity in young people. We offer compassionate, medically proven weight loss solutions for teenagers who meet specific program requirements.
Addressing weight issues early in life can have a long-term positive impact on health. Teens with obesity are at greater risk of asthma, diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver disease, and bone and joint problems, both in adolescence and in adulthood. Young people with obesity may also experience low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression, and withdraw from friends, school, sports, and other activities.
A teen with severe weight gain may benefit from options beyond diet and lifestyle changes. Our medically supervised weight-loss program guides adolescents and their families through long-term treatment with medication or surgery and follow-up visits.
Our team includes team includes an endocrinologist, obesity specialist, bariatric surgeon, child and adolescent psychologist, nutritionist, and social worker, all who specialize in caring for pediatric patients. We help your child understand the impact their weight has on their health and day-to-day life; develop manageable, achievable weight loss goals; and provide a plan for achieving them.
Knowing your child’s body mass index (BMI) is an important first step for determining program eligibility. Our doctors use BMI, a measure based on height and weight, to screen for excess body fat. Children ages 13 or older who have a body mass index of 35 or higher may be eligible for treatment.
If you have concerns about your child’s weight but they don’t meet program criteria, talk to your pediatrician.
For teens who meet program criteria, we offer two treatment pathways: a medication track and a surgical track. A nurse completes a phone screening and gathers needed information from the family to begin the intake process. You and your child will meet with a doctor to determine the appropriate track.
A teen on the medication track meets with one of our doctors, who prescribes weight loss medication and offers a plan for follow-up care. A dietitian also meets with your child, either at the first medical visit or separately. A social worker may participate in your child’s care if psychological or social needs identified during intake could affect treatment success.
Our doctors track your teen’s progress and provide feedback over the following weeks and months, for at least six months. The goal is to release the child back to their primary care doctor for medication refills and ongoing care.
If no improvement is seen in body weight or health risk factors, our doctors may recommend weight loss surgery.
Our program also offers adolescent weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, when appropriate. Your teen first sees our program’s obesity specialist or endocrinologist, surgeon, and dietitian. Our child and adolescent psychologists offer psychological and social support as needed.
After surgery, your child participates in multiple follow-up visits with members of our multidisciplinary team. A doctor evaluates your teen’s progress at three-month intervals after completing the program.
Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital is recognized as a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons for providing the highest-quality surgical care for children.Learn More
We treat teens with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher. Calculate your child’s BMI using this tool from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Learn More
Our pediatric experts provide the best care possible for children with conditions ranging from minor illnesses to complex, more serious conditions.