Thank you for your interest in preventing child obesity!

Just For Kids! was developed at the University of California School of Medicine, and was successfully tested in San Francisco schools.

Just For Kids! is a health education program for all children which helps them make changes in their diet, exercise, communication and affect which result in decreased obesity, improved cardiovascular and physical fitness, and increased nutrition knowledge.


Just For Kids! can be delivered over periods ranging from 5 to 10 weeks, depending on preferred format. Each week the Just For Kids! Workbook guides children in making changes in their habits and lifestyle which improve their fitness and knowledge. The program may be completed in a group format or individually.

The Just For Kids! Workbook is divided into nine tabbed sections, and each section is normally completed in one week. This allows children time to make suggested changes in their behavior and to practice the new skills they learn in each section.

Just For Kids! uses a variety of cognitive, behavioral and affective techniques to help children make successive, small behavior changes that are sustainable. It is a developmental skills training activity that teaches children how to modify their eating and physical activity behaviors, become more self-nurturing, develop effective limit-setting skills, and build a more positive body image.

When Just For Kids! is used in a classroom setting, children can use role-playing to learn how to handle teasing, practice problem-solving techniques, and learn more effective ways to talk about their feelings. Using a game-like approach and hands-on materials, children learn the difference between high-fat and low-fat foods and are taught the kinds of physical activities that make their bodies stronger and healthier.

A Just For Kids! Instructor's Guide is available to support delivery in a school or other group setting. The Instructor's Guide provides delivery guidelines for presentation during one-hour weekly or bi-weekly sessions.

Just For Kids! was developed by faculty members of the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine and includes contributions from nutrition, exercise physiology, endocrinology, psychology, family therapy, adolescent medicine, family medicine and behavioral and developmental pediatrics. Just For Kids! reflects current scientific and clinical understandings.

Just For Kids! was adapted from the SHAPEDOWN Pediatric Obesity Program, the nation's leading weight management program for children and adolescents. SHAPEDOWN is currently offered in over 400 hospitals, HMO's and clinics, and by hundreds of health professional private practitioners providing pediatric obesity care to families nationwide.

Just For Kids! has been tested and revised over a 15 year period. Field testing in school settings began in 1992. (See web page Links & Research) Hundreds of thousands of young people and their families have used this approach to change their lives.

Children in Just For Kids! enhance their self-esteem, improve peer relationships, adopt healthier habits and begin to normalize their weight within their genetic potential. The child becomes healthier and stronger. Just For Kids! results go far beyond weight.

Developmentally Sensitive
The storyline portion of Just For Kids! employs an ageless fairy tale format to model behavior change. While most appropriate for 6- to 10-year-olds, Just For Kids! has been used successfully with younger and older participants as well.

Addresses Underlying Factors
Just For Kids! incorporates a broad range of psychoeducational techniques to address underlying psychosocial correlates of the child's weight-related behaviors. Included are problem solving, assertive and emotionally expressive communication. In addition, cognitive and body image therapies are used. Together these techniques help create the support children need to stop their excessive appetites for food and inactive pursuits.

Just For Kids! is so gentle and protective that any child could benefit from participating. The focus is on becoming healthier and stronger, with an underlying theme of obesity prevention.

Just For Kids! dietary recommendations are consistent with the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowances,the National Cholesterol Education Project Guidelines, and the Food Pyramid. Recommendations for physical activity include increasing daily endurance activities, enhancing overall activity levels through chores, interests and social activities and decreasing sedentary pursuits such as television viewing. Additional food behaviors targeted include eating regular meals and eating in response to hunger and satiety.

Respect for the individual child is inherent in Just For Kids! The whole child is addressed, rather than just the potential for obesity. The Program integrates ethnic, cultural and economic differences into its content and addresses some of the psychosocial issues pertinent to child development. The program workbook includes examples of a range of family types including single parent families and blended families. In addition, multiple instructional modalities are used to enhance the program's utility with learning-disabled children.

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