Kids N Fitness: A Family-Centered Lifestyle Intervention for Overweight Youth

An Evidence-Based Practice


Kids N Fitness (KNF) is a family-centered, lifestyle intervention which aims to reduce risk factors (high BMI, BP and lipids) for metabolic syndrome in overweight youth. KNF seeks to intervene through actively changing eating and exercise habits in overweight youth given the increased prevalence of obesity and Type II Diabetes Mellitus (DM) in the last 25 years and the role of healthy lifestyle in prevention.

There are two essential components to each KNF session which take place over 12 weeks; each session lasts 90 minutes. The first component is a 45-minute exercise session during which the children play dodge ball, jump rope and run to promote moderate to vigorous aerobic activity. In this same session, parents attend seminars on negative effects of obesity. The second component is a 45-minute, family-centered collaboration between children, parents and a registered dietitian in which practical topics regarding nutrition and healthy eating are discussed in detail. KNF was initially developed and facilitated by Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in 2000 to specifically alter eating and exercise patterns in youth to prevent weight gain. Personnel involved in facilitating the weekly 90-minute sessions include: 2 physicians, 4 dietitians and 1 social worker.

Goal / Mission

The goal of Kids N Fitness is to reduce risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance in overweight youth through a family-oriented lifestyle intervention.

Results / Accomplishments

Kids N Fitness was evaluated through an experimental study to determine if it changed the lifestyle of overweight youth. The program recruited 109 youth, however there was a 46% drop out rate (50 youth). Of those who continued the program, 43 were able to provide the post-program outcome measures, needed to conduct the statistical tests (43-35 depending on measure). The baseline measures of the 109 youth were used as controls and the 35 post-program measures were used as the experiment/treatment group.

The study found significant decreases in BMI (p-value<0.005), leptin level (p<.05), systolic BP (p-value<0.05), total cholesterol (p-value<0.005), LDL cholesterol (p-value<0.05), Triglycerides (p-value<0.05), and 2-hour postprandial glucose levels (p-value<0.05) after participation in the program. The very significant decrease in BMI was related to the significant increase in height (p-value<0.005) of the participants over the 12-week study period, which may indicate that the BMI significance may not be very valuable.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Nirdesh K. Gupta, PhD
Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
(323) 361-5077
Health / Exercise, Nutrition, & Weight
Health / Children's Health
Children's Hospital of Los Angeles
Date of publication
Date of implementation
Los Angeles, CA
For more details
Target Audience
Children, Teens
Submitted By
Vidya Balakrishnan, Vivian Lei, Nancy Nasrawin - UC Berkeley School of Public Health