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East Tennessee Children's Hospital
2018 W Clinch Ave
Knoxville, TN 37916
865-541-8000

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Healthy Ways Clinic

About Healthy Ways Clinic

Welcome! We are glad you are joining us at Children’s Hospital in the Healthy Ways Clinic. From this day forward, you and your family will be a part of our team! This is going to be a journey that will include an interdisciplinary team approach to making lifestyle changes with your entire family. It is important for you to know your role on this team is just as important as each of ours. We cannot wait to join you as you learn new ways to become healthier and achieve the goals we set together.


Jump to a section: About Us | Who the Program Is For | Classes | What to Expect | FAQ


Missions, Goals and Philosophy
Our mission is to educate, empower and inspire families in a fun and supportive environment to live a healthy active lifestyle. Our vision is leading the way to a healthy and active family lifestyle. Children and adolescents have more positive outcomes when a supportive and active family is involved. Results from the Healthy Ways Clinic are highly related to the family’s motivation to make change. We value each family’s input and believe working together provides the best results.

Healthy Ways Logo

About Our Program

Healthy Ways is a family-centered, collaborative and interdisciplinary program. Our clinic team includes pediatric specialists in medicine, psychology, nutrition, physical therapy and nursing. Our program is structured, evidence-based and flexible to accommodate family and individual needs and differences.


Our program consists of two phases. The initial core phase is 16 weeks long; the child and family have five to six individual visits with the clinic team during this time. After the initial 16 weeks, the child and family enter the maintenance phase of the program, which lasts 12 months. During maintenance, the child and family have clinic visits every three months.


Our Location and Contact Information
Healthy Ways Clinic
3rd Floor (3R)
East Tennessee Children’s Hospital
2018 Clinch Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37901-5010
Phone: 865-541-8810
Fax: 865-541-8405



Who The Program Is For

The Healthy Ways Clinic at Children’s Hospital is open to patients from 2 to 18 years old who have a BMI of 85% or greater. Patients are admitted to the clinic through this primary care referral form.

At the initial clinic visit, a pediatrician specializing in weight management will complete a detailed history and examination focusing on organ systems affected by obesity. Fasting labs are required prior to the initial clinic visit. These include glucose, HgA1c, insulin, cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, TSH, AST, and ALT. After reviewing the history, physical exam and lab results, referrals to appropriate pediatric specialists will be made by the physician and other team members.

The goal of the Healthy Ways Clinic is to provide complete medical services for patients with their associated co-morbidities. Patients are frequently referred to pediatric specialists including Endocrinology, Pulmonology (including sleep studies), Gastroenterology, Nephrology and Cardiology.

If the primary care referral physician has questions about patient referrals or questions after the patient has started the Healthy Ways Clinic, the doctor is always welcome to call the clinic and talk to our physician or other team members.

Making Healthy Choices for Life Class

Healthy Kids SuccessMaking Healthy Choices for Life (MHCL) is a class that provides an overview of healthy lifestyle behaviors involving diet and activity. The overview includes a review of general nutrition principles, a discussion of how our choices are part of daily life, and suggestions for making healthier choices. This class focuses on a family-based approach where all family members are encouraged to make positive changes together. This class is led by a Registered Dietitian and lasts approximately one hour. Questions and participation are encouraged throughout the class. Following the class, staff members are available to answer individual questions.


A large number of the families who participate in the Healthy Ways Clinic attend the MHCL class before starting the clinic program. All individuals interested in the Healthy Ways Clinic are strongly encouraged to attend the MHCL class prior to starting the clinic program. Attending the MHCL class gives families the opportunity to be put on a cancellation list for scheduling with the Healthy Ways Clinic.


If interested in signing up for one of the MHCL classes, please contact your doctor for a referral to the class.


Healthy Ways Team

What to expect on your first visit to the Healthy Ways Clinic

Checking In: Your first day is an orientation to the clinic and the staff. It is a time for us to get to know you and your family. Once you arrive, you will check in with registration on the 3rd floor of East Tennessee Children's Hospital. Our waiting room includes lots of activities to keep you busy during the wait, including a Wii. Our clinic staff will then check your vital signs, such as blood pressure and heart rate. They will also check height and weight as well as waist and hip circumference. If you have not had any lab work done prior to your first appointment, it might be done that same day. A room will be assigned to you for the day. Expect to be here from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Yes, this is a long day, but this is the ONLY time throughout the whole program you will have to stay for this length of time.

Notebook: You will receive a notebook to keep track of all of your information throughout the program. You will also be given goal sheets for each visit that can be placed inside the notebook along with a goal calendar you will use each day. We hope you will personalize it by adding stickers, magazine clippings and photos to the front and back covers. This will be your guide through the clinic program.

Who You Will Meet: Each practitioner will spend about an hour with you and your family. The pediatrician, physical therapist, psychologist and dietitian will each ask questions about your home life, school, family, friends, meal times, activities, school events and other topics to gain insight into your world and interests. The physical therapist and pediatrician will also do physical evaluations. Based on the information you share with the Healthy Ways Clinic team, we will assist you and your family on setting goals. The goals will be personalized to help you and your family make the most progress in learning and succeeding with positive changes in your lifestyles.

Healthy GoalsGoals: You will have nutrition, behavior and physical activity goals to work on between visits. Goals will be added to or modified with each follow-up visit. The Healthy Ways Clinic team will review the goal calendar with you at each visit. This calendar makes it easier to track your progress, and we hope it will motivate you to reach your goals. Another motivational tool included in clinic is a rewards list. This list is developed by the patient and family together, following the initial clinic visit. At each follow-up visit, if goals have been met, the child has the opportunity to earn something from the rewards list. Rewards are provided by the family and are non-food related.

Contract: A contract will be presented to you and your parent to sign at the end of the first day. It states that you promise to work toward meeting the goals discussed. It also asks you and your family to commit to being at each visit on time unless there is an emergency that requires rescheduling.

Follow-up:The first follow-up visit will occur two to four weeks after the first visit. This visit will be in the clinic conference room with the dietitian, psychologist and physical therapist; the physician is typically not at the follow-up visits but does attend your 16-week visit and later visits. Your first follow-up visit will be a time to discuss how you have been doing since we first met in clinic. We hope all your questions and concerns will be addressed at each visit and that you and your family find the time spent focusing on a healthy way of life helpful and valuable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is an initial assessment by the clinic’s psychologist necessary?
Q: Why is a medical exam by the clinic’s pediatrician necessary?
Q: Does the program offer or prescribe medications for weight loss?
Q: What will the child and family learn in the program?
Q: How much involvement is required of the family?
Q: Will it be necessary for my child to miss school for appointments?
Q: How can I get my child into the Healthy Ways Clinic?
Q: Does health insurance cover the Healthy Ways Clinic program?
Q: What does it cost to participate in the Healthy Ways Clinic?
Q: How can I donate to support children in need of treatment for childhood obesity?

Q: Why is an initial assessment by the clinic’s psychologist necessary?
A: The initial assessment by a psychologist is necessary to understand associated issues such as environmental and family influences, behavioral or mood-related concerns, school performance, social issues and daily habits and behaviors. Children and teenagers who struggle with obesity often experience body image concerns, low self-esteem and symptoms of depression and anxiety; they also are at an increased risk of being teased and bullied. The psychologist’s role in the clinic is to work with each child and family to help them better understand their current habits and behaviors and to help them make lifestyle changes that include, but are not solely limited to, weight management.

Q: Why is a medical exam by the clinic’s pediatrician necessary?
A: Childhood obesity is one of the leading causes of diabetes. A number of other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated lipids (fats), poor bone health, early onset of cardiovascular (heart) diseases, liver disease and sleep apnea can be associated with childhood obesity. A pediatrician trained in working with overweight patients will take a detailed, focused history, perform a complete exam and arrange for appropriate referrals if needed.

Q:  Does the program offer or prescribe medications for weight loss?
A:  No, our program does not offer or prescribe medications to children and adolescents for weight loss. 

Healthy Ways LearningQ: What will the child and family learn in the program?
A: Children learn about themselves and their families. Some of the things they learn include:

  • how their daily habits and behaviors may be associated with their overall health
  • how making healthier choices can improve self esteem
  • how to identify and problem-solve barriers to making healthier daily choices
  • how to eat appropriate portions
  • how to read food labels
  • how to make healthy food choices at home and restaurants
  • how to balance activity with sedentary time

Q: How much involvement is required of the family?
A: It is difficult to treat childhood disorders without involving the family. To facilitate change and motivate the child, it is important to involve the family. It is sometimes difficult to involve the entire family every session, but it is required that at least one parent or legal guardian join their child for every session.

In our experience, patients with the greatest involvement and support from their family are the patients with the greatest short-term and long-term success. Therefore, the team at the Healthy Ways Clinic strongly encourages parents (and extended family) to support and be involved in the child’s weight management goals.

Q: Will it be necessary for my child to miss school for appointments?
A: Yes, your child will miss some school for appointments. We understand that many children do not want to miss school for a variety of reasons. A child’s health is also of the highest priority, and we will provide a doctor’s note for time missed at school.

Q: How can I get my child into the Healthy Ways Clinic?
A: Your child’s pediatrician or primary care physician can refer your family to the Healthy Ways Clinic.  Here is a link to our clinic referral sheet. Here is a link to our clinic referral sheet

Q: Does health insurance cover the Healthy Ways Clinic program?
A: Your health insurance will be billed for the services provided in the Healthy Ways Clinic program.  Many health insurance plans, including commercial/private plans, cover portions of the Healthy Ways program. In most cases, TennCare covers the program in full. Every insurance covers different specialty services; some cover much of the program, while others cover very little. One insurance plan may cover lab work and appointments with the clinic’s physician and psychologist, while another insurance plan may only cover lab work and the physician’s initial exam. Some insurance plans also require a pre-authorization. 

For these reasons, it is best to consult with your insurance company early in the program so you can be aware of what coverage you may have and what you may have to pay out-of-pocket.

Q: What does it cost to participate in the Healthy Ways Clinic?
A: There is not a set, flat fee for children to go through the Healthy Ways Clinic program. Each child has different needs, which can determine some of the services needed during the process. In addition, insurance may cover some portions of the program, so the remaining out-of-pocket expense for each family is different. The total cost for the program really is not determined until billing takes place for the specific services each child receives.

Children’s Hospital is flexible with payment options and is happy to work with families who need to pay their bill on a monthly payment plan over time, after insurance has paid its share of any bill. If you view the Healthy Ways program as an investment in your child’s and family’s long-term health, you may find the monthly payments quite affordable.

For information about billing, contact the Children’s Hospital Business Office at (865) 541-8187. For details on setting up a payment plan, contact the Children’s Hospital Self-Pay Department at (865) 602-3522. You can also read about our Financial Assistance Program 

Q: How can I donate to support children in need of treatment for childhood obesity?
A: Children’s Hospital and the Healthy Ways Clinic are grateful to those who are interested in financially supporting this program to help children who need clinic services. To support the clinic, please contact our Development Department at (865) 541-8441 or visit the Ways to Give section of the Children’s Hospital website.