Local program combats childhood obesity

Growing Lean, a new youth weight loss program launched in June, is combining home delivery of nutritious meals and snacks, medically supervised exercise programs and individual and family counseling to help obese children and teens.

Dr. Arie S. Friedman, medical director of Growing Lean, says the program is the result of discussions he and other pediatricians had for years: the difficulty pediatricians have treating childhood obesity."What you need is the kid equivalent of a Jenny Craig or a Weight Watchers,” Friedman says.

How do you do this for kids? Portion- and calorie-controlled meal plans, delivered twice weekly to families’ homes, that taste great, are filling and teach kids to eat healthy, appropriate portions; time spent with nutrition counselors is family-oriented and allows kids be involved in their health plans; and exercise sessions are kid-centered.

“Almost all of the kids involved so far are losing weight,” Friedman says.

The program can also be customized to fit your family’s needs.

“Several families have had success managing their children’s weight with just the meals,” says his brother, Benson Friedman, who left his legal practice to create Growing Lean. Others are using the fitness classes and a combination of counseling and meals."Our goal is to make these services as convenient and accessible as possible.”

Growing Lean is expanding and already working with two private schools in Oak Park, which will receive healthy hot meals during the school year. For more information about Growing Lean and its services, visit growinglean.com.

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