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MeritCare Develops Family Weightloss Progam KidQuest

It's a sobering statistic - one of out of every five children in the U.S. is overweight. Childhood obesity is a significant public health risk for overweight children because it increases their risk for developing medical problems, depression and low self-esteem. These children also have a high probability of becoming overweight adults, which increases their chances of future medical complications.

It's a sobering statistic - one of out of every five children in the U.S. is overweight. Childhood obesity is a significant public health risk for overweight children because it increases their risk for developing medical problems, depression and low self-esteem. These children also have a high probability of becoming overweight adults, which increases their chances of future medical complications.

MeritCare's new Kidquest Program was developed to provide support to children between ages 8-12 and their families by helping change thoughts and behaviors, as well as changing environmental and lifestyle factors that contribute to weight gain. Parents are required to participate in the program to help improve the use of learned skills and to maximize long-term outcomes. Program goals include:
  • Establish healthy eating patterns.
  • Increase physical activity.
  • Use behavioral and parenting tools to implement and maintain lifestyle changes.


MeritCare launched the Kidquest Program in February, and the second session of the program began on Oct. 16. The program consists of 20 weekly meetings, followed by seven monthly sessions over the course of one year. During the meetings, children and parents meet in separate groups for one hour and then meet together for 15 minutes before or after the group for lifestyle coaching. Groups are led by licensed psychologists and licensed registered dietitians. The program also includes some activity nights at the Fargo-Moorhead Family YMCA's downtown Fargo location.

"It's been exciting to see the tremendous progress our families have made since they began the program," said psychologist Dr. Lorraine Swan-Kremeier, who leads many of the meetings. "They've been able to develop new skills to improve their quality of life."

Thanks to grant from the MeritCare Foundation, 24 families are able to participate in the program free of charge - 12 families went through the program in February and 12 are participating in the session that began in Oct.

The KidQuest program is offered through the Eating Disorders Institute, which is a partnership between MeritCare, the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences and the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute. For more information about KidQuest, call Jeana at (701) 234-4111.