ST. LOUIS – The Healthy First program at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital focuses on families who are interested in exploring habits that promote health, including nutrition and movement.

A comprehensive team of pediatricians, advanced nurse practitioners, registered dietitians, social workers and psychologists customize the program to each family to offer a multidisciplinary approach to weight management in kids.

With the new school year just a few weeks away, this program aims to serve kids ages four to eighteen with a body mass index typically greater than the 85th percentile.

“It’s a family program, so we’re trying to help everybody together, because research has shown basically that the child can’t do it all on their own, and that with the family together, we can make those changes happen,” nurse practitioner Emily Hollenkamp said.

Hollenkamp notes that parents can make healthy nutrition fun for kids and suggests getting kids involved in the grocery shopping and meal prep process. She also teaches families about the concept of My-Plate, a visual tool that divides a plate into sections for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and protein.

“We try to get as many of the food groups that we can onto the plate at every meal and in snacks. So we try to include incorporating snacks as well,” Hollenkamp said. “Not just one thing, not just a fruit. We try to tell them to try to do at least two food groups into a snack every time.”

For more information about the Healthy First program, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on KPLR News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.