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What’s in a name? Why the SickKids Team Obesity Management Program is now the Healthy Living Clinic
3 minute read

What’s in a name? Why the SickKids Team Obesity Management Program is now the Healthy Living Clinic


Dr. Elizabeth Dettmer, Staff Psychologist and Program Director of the Healthy Living Clinic, and Jenny Cooper, a parent of a SickKids patient, reflect on the importance of change to meet the evolving needs of patients and families.

A clinician’s perspective : A simple change to fit a complex issue

Dr. Elizabeth Dettmer, Staff Pyschologist and Program Director, Health Living Clinic

Over a decade ago, SickKids Team Obesity Management Program (STOMP) name and acronym were chosen to exemplify the teams’ and families’ efforts to ‘stomp’ out obesity. The program has since supported hundreds of patients and their families in learning about healthy lifestyle choices that affect nutrition, physical activity, mental health and overall health. At the time, the name fit, but times have changed and so has the focus of our clinic.  

In recent years, ‘obesity’ (primarily a medical term) has come to be a loaded term, causing many people to feel a sense of blame or judgment. Weight management is a complex issue, but oversimplified comments like “just eat less or move more” continue to dominate conversations across society. However, if it were that simple, there would be no need for a specialized clinic like ours at SickKids.  

In reality, adopting and maintaining healthy eating habits and activity is an enormous challenge. After consulting with SickKids clinical teams, patients and families, it was clear that everyone was ready for a name change that exemplified our program’s focus on health and wellness above all. Our hope is that the “Healthy Living Clinic” will provide a fresh and modern take on our program’s core values, with less focus on weight-related outcomes. 

A new name is just the first step in establishing a new era for the clinic, but it matches the more holistic approach to the way we provide care. We are confident that this refresh to SickKids’ Healthy Living Clinic is a change that will be welcomed by our patients and families and look forward to many more years working with them to chart their own paths to healthier, happier lives. 

A parent’s perspective: Using positive emotions to set youth up for success

 Jenny Cooper, SickKids parent

Neuroscience has shown that the brain's reward system is activated when we experience positive emotions such as joy, satisfaction and pride, and experiencing these positive emotions can motivate us to continue pursuing our goals. As the parent of a patient currently enrolled in the STOMP program, I was so happy to hear about the new name – Healthy Living Clinic – and what it will mean for other patients and families.  

Seeking care for weight management is already such a hard thing to do, and even the name of a clinic or program can add to the shame and negative emotions kids are experiencing. Changing STOMP’s name to the Healthy Living Clinic shows that the team at SickKids really understands the importance of promoting positive emotions to set more patients up for success and help them achieve their health-related goals. I'm hopeful that this refresh will give kids hope and help them gain confidence in believing in themselves and their futures. 

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