PARK RIDGE, N.J. -- The new Healthy LifeWays: Valley’s Center for Pediatric Wellness and Weight Management has opened in Park Ridge, and provides a comprehensive program of medical and behavioral health to help overweight and obese children and teenagers lose weight, improve their health, and reduce their risk of developing chronic illnesses.
Founded and directed by Valley Medical Group pediatrician and childhood obesity expert Dr. Sherry Sakowitz-Sukkar, Healthy LifeWays offers a program with continued maintenance support for obese children and adolescents who have a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for their age.
“Our goal is for Healthy LifeWays to be educational and life-changing, to help children and teens, with the support of their families, develop mindful eating habits, engage in fun exercise activities, and learn new behaviors so they can sustain a healthy lifestyle and prevent a lifetime of serious chronic disease,” says Dr. Sakowitz-Sukkar. “Our program follows recommendations put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics to combat the current epidemic of childhood obesity, which is one of the most pressing health concerns of the 21st century. Research shows that a staggering 80 percent of obese children grow up to be obese adults.”
Healthy LifeWays: Valley’s Center for Pediatric Wellness and Weight Management is only one of several hospital-based programs of its kind in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area. In addition to Dr. Sakowitz-Sukkar, the program’s staff includes a pediatric dietitian/nutrition staff, social worker, and support staff. Exercise coaches on staff at affiliated facilities are also a part of the program.
“By personalizing our program to fit the needs of each individual child and family, we aim to help each child attain weight-loss success,” says Dr. Sakowitz-Sukkar. “The time to stop obesity is before a teenager reaches adulthood because almost all chronic diseases are associated with obesity, and they often begin in childhood.”
Healthy LifeWays is a Valley Health System program based at a state-of-the- art medical office at 74 Pascack Road in Park Ridge.