The Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Clinic at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital has been helping children since August 2003. The clinic brings together doctors, nutritionists, exercise physiologists and psychologists with expertise diagnosing and treating childhood obesity. The team of experts evaluates patients and their families both behaviorally and biochemically, paying close attention to the links between biochemistry and behavior, especially as they apply to energy balance, or the balance between calories burned and calories consumed.
The clinic assists with weight management while also treating diseases related to weight, such as asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Weight management is achieved through nutrition education and behavior modification; drug and surgical therapy is considered when appropriate.
The clinic also conducts research examining the causes and treatments of obesity.
Children need a referral from their primary care doctor to be seen at the WATCH Clinic. Currently there is a three to five month waiting list, but the clinic is working to see as many patients as possible.
During the first visit, children go through the following:
Blood Draw — Children have their blood drawn to check their fasting glucose and insulin levels.
Teaching Breakfast — Because the children can't eat before their blood test, they're often rather hungry. A crucial part of the first visit is a teaching breakfast lead by nutritionist Andrea Garber who talks about principles of healthy eating while the children and their parents taste the examples. The breakfast includes an assortment of high-fiber breads and cereals, low-fat milk and yogurt, fruit, nuts and other healthy items. All the food is donated by Trader Joes.
Doctor Visit — Either before or after the teaching breakfast, the children visit with one of the clinic's doctors who assesses their weight and health. Children with other health issues related to weight, such as asthma or high blood pressure, meet with additional doctors in those specialties.
Fitnessgram — The children are taken to the Millberry Union Fitness Center to assess their fitness. Exercise physiologists give the children tips on safely increasing their physical activity and talk about the benefits of exercise.
After the first visit, children return every three months for follow-up appointments. During these visits the children meet with the doctor and have individual sessions with the nutritionist and psychologist as needed to talk about their nutrition and behavior changes.
You'll need a referral from your child's pediatrician or specialist to make an appointment. Once you have the referral, please call the number below.
Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health Clinic
Ron Conway Family Gateway Medical Building
1825 Fourth St., Sixth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-7337
Fax: (415) 476-8214
Hours: New patient appointments on select Wednesdays 7:45 – 11:45 a.m. (4 hour appointment)
Follow-up appointments Tuesday 1 – 5 p.m., Wednesday 8 – 12 p.m. (30 minutes)
Public parking options at UCSF's Mission Bay campus include:
Daily Maximum: $30/day
UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay is accessible via the following Muni bus routes:
(415) 673-6864 (MUNI)
Free UCSF shuttles connect the Mission Bay campus with our Mount Zion and Parnassus campuses as well as other UCSF locations and the 16th Street BART station.