TX Children's 'Teen Wow' program helping those with weight issues

Thursday, October 27, 2016
TX Children's "Teen Wow" program helping those with weight issues
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A program at Texas Children's Hospital helps adolescents with weight issues.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- It's important for children to maintain a healthy weight as they develop through their teen years, but sometimes there are contributing factors that could lead to adolescent obesity. With that in mind, a program was developed right here in Houston to help those struggling with weight issues.

It's a struggle with which many overweight teens are familiar.

"I was bullied a lot because of my weight," Crystal Chainani told us.

As a coping mechanism, she would turn to food.

Crystal said, "I was so stressed and eating was kind of my way to make me less stressed. Normally, it was when I was doing my homework, or when I wasn't with my friends or family."

But that changed about a year-and-a-half ago when Crystal entered the Teen WOW program at Texas Children's Hospital.

According to Dr. Sharonda Alston-Taylor, "It was created to help adolescents 12 to 18 years old who are obese, meaning that they have a body mass index of greater than the 95th percentile in their growth charts."

The program was set up to assist with stopping weight gain, while achieving slow progressive weight loss. Many tools are provided, including nutritional education.

Dr. Alston-Taylor said, "We're addressing the importance of getting in a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables a day (and) how to make a balanced plate when they're eating their meals."

Adolescents are also encouraged to be more physically active.

"The Teen WOW program has helped me with a new lifestyle, and it's something that's not hard for me. It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle. It really changed my life, and I couldn't be happier," Crystal told us.

Crystal says she used to be borderline diabetic. After being enrolled in Teen WOW, her health has improved and she's lost a little over 30 pounds.