Bright Bodies

Weight Management Program for Children

Education • Exercise • Lifestyle Modification

Yale Center for Clinical Investigation and
Pediatric Endocrinology, Yale School of Medicine


Children and adolescents meet twice per week for exercise and once per week for a nutrition education or behavior modification class using the Smart Moves™ Workbook. The program offers 12-week sessions that have approximately six nutrition topics and six behavior modification topics per session. Children are encouraged to attend consecutive sessions to obtain their weight management goals and further the educational process.

Josh and Eric, together, have lost over 100 pounds.  Eric no longer needs to take insulin or his oral diabetes medication

NUTRITION EDUCATION: The program teaches better food choices and appropriate portion sizes for best long-term results. Dieting is not recommended since it encourages short-term changes and does not generally lead to permanent success. Registered Dietitians (RD) or master-level nutritionists teach all nutrition-related topics (40 minute class). Parents and caregivers are encouraged to join all nutrition-related classes since they do the grocery shopping and cooking and therefore need to be a role model for the family. BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION: Children will become more aware of overeating triggers and ultimately learn ways to cope with such triggers. RDs or social workers facilitate this portion of the program (40 minute class) and use the Smart Moves™ Workbook as a reference. Parents and caregivers are actually discouraged from attending these class topics since the children partake in more frank discussions without a parental figure present.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: In addition to improving eating behaviors, the program's goal is to increase children's physical activity level. Activity promotes weight loss and, later, helps maintain weight.  Children are encouraged to exercise 30 to 40 minutes five times per week. The program offers two 50 minute, moderate cardiovascular workouts each week of the program. Trained exercise physiologists supervise the exercise component. The Bright Bodies Program offers an array of activity choices for overweight children such as, flag football, dancing, basketball, races, active games, and interactive video games like Kanomi's Dance Dance Revolution (click for video). PARENT CLASSES: Parents will learn how to be role models to promote healthy behavior changes in the family enviroment.  These classes give parents an opportunity to discuss challenges with other parents and the social worker.

Benefits for Children

  • Lose Weight
  • Build muscle mass and lose fat mass
  • Increase energy
  • Make friends
  • Feel less isolated
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Learn healthier eating habits
  • Prevent or improve conditions such as: Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep disturbances, and high cholesterol

Benefits for Parents

  • Improve family communication
  • Decrease stress of handling child's problem alone
  • Improve family health