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When children are struggling with excess weight, finding the right path forward requires looking at the whole picture of what is going on for each child and family. WakeMed Children’s – Pediatric Weight Management team is committed to customized, compassionate care to help families make lifestyle changes to improve the overall health and well-being of children who are facing excess weight and obesity challenges and related medical concerns.

The Growing Challenge

Being overweight can be extra challenging for children or adolescents when their bodies are going through lots of other changes, and they face daily peer pressure. Self-esteem and body image can become a real concern along with health risks associated with obesity, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety and depression.

No Secret Recipe

Adults and children can become easily frustrated, especially when they fall prey to “quick fix” ideas that promise unrealistic results but simply don’t work.

“Successful weight management is multi-layered, so there isn’t one secret recipe – that is why we listen to each patient’s story to understand what’s really going on and how best we can help,” says Samareh Hill, MD, medical director, WakeMed Children’s – Pediatric Weight Management. “We perform tests to evaluate for weight-related medical conditions, such as prediabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, abnormal thyroid, vitamin D deficiency, fatty liver, bone deformities, polycystic ovary syndrome, sleep apnea and anything else that might be of concern to each individual patient. As part of our comprehensive treatment, we not only work on healthy lifestyle changes, but also offer weight loss medications or bariatric surgery for our high-risk patients.”

Excess weight can be the result of numerous factors, including genetics and biology, the environment, medications and individual behaviors.

“Families facing weight struggles feel confused and hopeless at times, and it’s understandable that sometimes they simply want to throw in the towel and give up,” notes Dr. Hill. “That’s why we are here to help — it can seem overwhelming, but our comprehensive program is designed to develop a treatment plan for each child’s specific needs.”

It Takes a Team

Led by board-certified pediatricians with expertise in childhood weight management, the team mindset at WakeMed Children’s emphasizes a family-based holistic approach to help children of all ages reach for their own healthy weight goals through behavior changes to build lifelong habits.

“We believe that family involvement is essential for our multidisciplinary team to provide the best possible support,” comments Dr. Hill. “Our team consists of pediatricians, nurse practitioners, dietitians, personal trainers and behavior specialists.”

Children and teens meet with a member of the WakeMed Children’s – Pediatric Weight Management team monthly to work on healthy changes, and they have access to many free community-based nutrition and fitness programs that help them build skills and gain knowledge to create healthy habits while improving energy and positive self-esteem.

Teens Get ENERGIZED! at the Gym

Teens can tap into new components of WakeMed’s ENERGIZE!, which is free and accessible for the entire family of patients of WakeMed Children’s – Pediatric Weight Management.

“The youth in our pediatric weight management program have expressed interested in more independent opportunities to workout at the gym,” observes Dr. Hill. "So, the ENERGIZE! team is enhancing our existing Teen Gym experience to provide an eight-week, gym-based program with strength circuit workout opportunities led by WakeMed personal trainers along with complementary nutrition education for teens.

“ENERGIZE! has continued to grow and change to fit the needs of participating youth, and we are excited to pilot this new format in response to the specific interests of teens,” offers Julie Paul, WakeMed dietitian. “The goal is to do what ENERGIZES you!”

Talk to your pediatrician if you think your child could benefit from the ENERGIZE! program.

CookWELL Fun for the Whole Family

WakeMed partners with the Poe Center to offer CookWELL classes for WakeMed Children’s – Pediatric Weight Management patients. Cooking classes are offered for any interested families.

Visit Poehealth.org to learn more about the CookWELL Kitchen and available programs.

Stay on the Move at a Park Near You

WakeMed partners with Raleigh Parks & Recreation to offer ENERGIZE! programs throughout the community, which also helps connect families to the activities, walking trails and various other amenities at nearby parks.

Have you visited the parks closest to your home or office? Visit Raleigh Parks & Recreation to see offerings around the Triangle.

 Meet the Expert – Dr. Hill

Dr. Samareh Hill serves as the Medical Director for WakeMed Children’s – Pediatric Weight Management. She is dual board-certified in General Pediatrics and Obesity Medicine. Dr. Hill received her undergraduate degree in nutrition from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, medical degree from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond, and she completed her pediatric residency at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, Conn. She completed a clinical fellowship in pediatric weight management at Nemours A. I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del. In her time away from work, Dr. Hill enjoys the outdoors, growing her own food and spending time with her husband and three children.

WakeMed Children’s – Pediatric Weight Management physicians are board certified in pediatric obesity medicine and completed additional years of fellowship training.

Thank you to the WakeMed Foundation for helping fund the expansion of the ENERGIZE! program.

Pediatric Weight Management

WakeMed Children’s – Pediatric Weight Management is committed to improving the health and well-being of children and youth who are facing challenges and medical problems related to excess weight and obesity.

WakeMed Children’s – Pediatric Weight Management serves children from birth to 18 years of age with a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile.



WakeMed Children's Hospital