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Children with PWS playing a dance game in physical therapy

Structured nutrition for pediatric patients struggling with childhood obesity and Prader-Willi Syndrome

Children with established weight control problems, including childhood obesity and Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), often need a safe, structured environment to help them reach weight loss and general health and wellness goals. Offering a welcoming, home-like setting, Nexus Children’s Hospital’s Jump Start Health & Wellness program in The Woodlands helps our young patients decrease their body mass index (BMI) while addressing other weight-related conditions and medical diagnoses.

When a child arrives at Jump Start, they gain access to a complete team of clinical and allied health professionals who work with families to establish a unique treatment plan that addresses criteria such as the child’s medical history, weight, overall health, food preferences, and any mobility restrictions. As the only nationally recognized inpatient program of its kind, Jump Start not only addresses BMI concerns, but also works with children to develop strategies to manage behavior, decrease unstructured time, develop coping skills for at home, school, and in the community, and improve their overall quality of life.

Jump Start’s registered dietitian develops a medically supervised meal plan for each child which includes three whole food-based meals and three nutritious snacks each day. The meal plans accommodate any cultural or religious needs that the child may have and are heavily focused on offering adequate nutrients for each child through fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, lean protein sources, and calorie-free beverages. Calorie ranges vary by child depending on their health goals and medical diagnoses and are adjusted by the medical team during their stay in the program to help each child meet their goals set upon admission.

Food options at Jump Start are prepared fresh daily by professional kitchen staff at Nexus Specialty Hospital in nearby Shenandoah. Meals are delivered three times each day, seven days per week and prepared with care to ensure each child meets their caloric needs to participate in physical training regimens and group activities which may include dancing, yoga, sports therapy, or individual therapies.

Mealtimes at Jump Start are communal to provide an additional degree of supervision and structure to ensure each child’s success. Since each child’s meal plan is designed specifically for them, the appearance of food trays throughout the meal environment may vary. Jump Start staff work to ensure visible variations are kept to a minimum and that children are receiving nutritious food every 2-3 hours to keep them feeling energized, while setting them up on a path towards their goals. Upon discharge from the program, each child’s family and caregivers receive behavioral health support and nutrition training so children can continue their eating regimen at home, or in a community living setting.

For more information about Nexus Children’s Hospital’s Jump Start Program, click here or call the admissions office at 713.351.6633.

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