News Room

Shapedown program helps families improve health and well-being

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fort HealthCare clinicians are undergoing extensive training to offer Shapedown, a family-based wellness program that targets weight, nutrition and activity in both children (ages 10-16) and parents.

The program builds on the strength of the family while gently and effectively supporting families in creating an active lifestyle and a healthy diet. Parents learn skills to curb their child's emotional overeating and sharpen limit-setting skills to prompt children toward a healthier lifestyle. Children accept more responsibility for diet and activity and feel happier and safer. Food becomes less important, activity more exciting and the child's weight begins to normalize.

Shapedown is gentle and protective so almost any child could benefit from participating. All potentially harmful or distressing techniques are avoided, including rigid or low-calorie diets. Weight loss is gradual, ranging from weight maintenance while growing, to no more than 2 pounds per week.

Regarding 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 chores, interests, sports and projects.

In addition, a wide range of strategies help the child and parent take care of their emotional and physical health. For example, children learn techniques that effectively stop peer teasing and families learn communication techniques to resolve conflicts.

Children and teens in Shapedown enhance their self-esteem, improve peer relationships, adopt healthier habits and begin to normalize their weight within their genetic potential. Parents are often amazed at their child's new happiness and vitality and at the richness of their family life. The results of Shapedown go far beyond weight.

Respect for the individual and the family is inherent in Shapedown. The whole child is addressed, rather than just weight. Each level stresses the psychosocial issues pertinent at that stage of development. Shapedown integrates ethnic, cultural and economic differences into its content. The program workbooks include examples of a broad range of family types including single parent families and blended families. In addition, multiple instructional methods are used to enhance the program’s utility for children with learning disabilities.

Prior to the beginning of the program, an assessment will be completed to determine if Shapedown is appropriate for each family’s needs and commitment. To be successful, it is expected that at least one parent will attend each session. Families must be willing to attend all 10 weeks, complete readings and self-assessments and change family exercise and dietary patterns.

Fort HealthCare’s Shapedown program will begin Thursday, January 17 and meet for 10 weeks. Classes will be Thursday evenings, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Fort HealthCare Therapy & Sport Center at 1504 Madison Avenue, Fort Atkinson. Instructors include Fort HealthCare’s Amanda Trapp, RN and Tara Zachgo, LAT, CMA, CLFC and Shapedown is overseen by Heidi Jennrich, PNP and Laurel Runte, PNP. Cost is $50 per family and there are a limited number of spaces available.

Register HERE

To learn more, call Tara Zachgo, at (920) 568-6523.

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