WATCH Clinic
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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 and dietitians with expertise in diagnosing and treating childhood obesity. Our expert team 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 working closely with other pediatric subspecialists - including pediatric endocrinology, pulmonology and nephrology - to help treat diseases related to weight, such as diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea and high blood pressure. Weight management is achieved through nutrition education and behavior modification. Drug and surgical therapy is considered when appropriate.

Children need a referral from their primary care doctor to be seen at the WATCH Clinic. Currently there is a 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
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)

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 Mission Bay

Public parking options at UCSF's Mission Bay campus include:

Weekdays: $3.75/hour
Daily Maximum: $30/day

More Information

Download a Mission Bay campus map

Public Transportation

UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay is accessible via the following Muni bus routes:

  • 22
  • 55
  • T-Third Street line

More Information

(415) 673-6864 (MUNI)
SFMTA website

UCSF Shuttles

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.

More Information

Shuttle routes and timetables
Shuttle system map
Shuttle hotline: (415) 476-4646 (GOGO)

Related Information

Ways to Give

Condition Information

Our Team

Patrika Tsai
Patrika Tsai, MD
Pediatric gastroenterologist
Nancy Matthiessen