WATCH Clinic

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.

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  • See a UCTV video, "Sugar, the Bitter Truth," featuring Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist, who discusses the damage caused by sugary foods.

Treatment at the Clinic

First Visit

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.

Follow-Up

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.

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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.

Getting Here

Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health Clinic
400 Parnassus Ave, Second Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
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)

What to Bring

  • Health insurance information including authorizations or referrals
  • List of your child's prescription medications and dosages
  • List of medications your child is allergic to
  • List of questions you may have
  • Recent test results related to your child's condition
  • Paper and pencil to take notes

Parking

Parking at Parnassus

Public parking for an hourly fee at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital is available in the seven-level Millberry Union Garage at 500 Parnassus Ave. There are two garage entrances — one on the north side of Parnassus Avenue and another on Irving Street, just east of Third Avenue.

Another garage with an hourly fee, at 350 Parnassus Ave., is open Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Metered street parking is rarely available.

Patients being admitted to the hospital may be dropped off at the circular driveway leading to the main entrance at 505 Parnassus Ave. This area also may be used to pick up patients who are being discharged.

For more information about parking at Parnassus, call Campus Parking Services at 476-2566.

Valet Parking Service

Valet parking service is available at the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) at 400 Parnassus Ave. from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The valet service is free but patients must pay regular parking fees. For more information about the valet service, call (415) 476-6200.

A UCSF "greeter" also is available at the ACC from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist patients find their way.

Public Transportation

Parnassus

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital is accessible via Muni streetcar line N-Judah*, which stops at Second Avenue and Irving Street, and the following Muni bus lines, which stop in front of the hospital:

  • 43-Masonic*
  • 6-Parnassus
  • For more information about Muni visit, www.sfmuni.com.

    * Wheelchair accessible bus routes

Related Information

Ways to Give

Condition Information

Clinic Team

Robert Lustig
Dr. Robert Lustig,
pediatric endocrinologist
Patrika Tsai
Dr. Patrika Tsai,
pediatric gastroenterologist
Andrea Garber
Andrea Garber,
pediatric nutritionist
Nancy Guardino
Nancy Guardino,
dietitian
Luis Rodriguez
Luis Rodriguez,
dietitian