Childhood Obesity and Cardiovascular Health Initiative (COACH)

What is COACH?

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years.

The goal of COACH is to arm children ages 10-19 in the 95th percentile for weight with the tools and motivational support to successfully overcome unhealthy weight by learning new healthy living habits. By providing support from a pediatric cardiologist and nutritionist, COACH should help participants:

  • Improve their nutrition
  • Increase levels of physical activity
  • Learn to balance food intake against energy spent

The above lifestyle changes will:

  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve cholesterol levels
  • Reduce body mass index (BMI)
  • Improve vitamin D and insulin levels

Who is eligible to participate in COACH?

Patients must be:

  • Children ages 10-19 years old
  • BMI ≥ 95th percentile or ≥ 30kg/m2

Patient restrictions:

  • Children under 10 years of age
  • Pregnant females
  • Children with a history of sensitivity to lipid lowering agents
  • Children who are not ambulatory
  • Children who have severe respiratory conditions (including moderate to severe asthma) or have other conditions that limit physical activity
  • Children with active liver disease

Patient responsibilities:

  • No hospital stay is required.
  • Children must participate in the majority of 5 clinic visits and 2 phone visits to remain in the study.
  • Participants are responsible for recording what they eat each day.
  • Participants must wear the pedometer provided as part of the study.
  • Participants must take responsibility for the goals agreed upon with the COACH clinical team.

What to expect during the COACH program.

Pre-clinical assessment: baseline screening

  • COACH physician will review information provided by referring physician (family history, current medications, growth charts)
  • COACH physician will request blood work to evaluate lab data

Patient clinic visit #1

  • Physical examination
  • Review of patient history
  • Motivational interview #1 to identify 3 goals
  • Meet with dietician
  • Introduction to "Super Tracker"
  • ECG and echocardiogram

COACH physician and patient hold phone call follow-up #1

  • Review 3 identified goals
  • Assess need for additional motivational support

Patient clinic visits #2-4

  • During visit #2, patient receives pedometer and notebook for tracking caloric intake and energy expenditure
  • Routine assessment to evaluate progress towards goals
  • Review motivational goals
  • Meet with dietician
  • Review caloric data from "Super Tracker"
  • Measure body fat
  • Manage cardiovascular-related disease

COACH physician and patient hold phone call follow-up #2

  • Review 3 identified goals
  • Assess need for additional motivational support

Patient clinic visit #5: final laboratory screening (at 6 months)

  • Draw lab data

Patient clinic visit #6

  • Maintenance, follow-up planning

Final follow-up (10 months after start of program)

How do I refer a patient for COACH consideration?

Parents and referring physicians of potential COACH participants should contact Dr. Carissa Baker-Smith, principal investigator, at 410-328-4348 or

To make an appointment with the Children's Heart Program, please call 410-328-4FIT (4348) or 1-800-373-4111 (referring physicians only).

This page was last updated: June 24, 2013

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