Sunshine Kids Wellness Program

Overweight and obesity in children is now epidemic in North America and internationally. Approximately 22 million children under 5 years of age are overweight across the world. In the United States, the number of overweight children and adolescents has doubled in the last two to three decades (Deckelbaum and Williams, 2001).

Sunshine Kids Wellness Program was inspired by Isaiah, an 11 year old boy with multiple food sensitivities, the most problematic being dairy and gluten. When I first began seeing Isaiah he weighed 181 pounds and was mildly hypertensive. In 8 weeks, he lost 11 pounds and normalized his blood pressure. Morbid obesity is a challenge for any adult but especially for a child. My work with Isaiah helped me to realize the importance of recognizing and awarding milestones. Through the course of his treatment, positive reinforcement by his Doctor and Staff helped to instill and inspire commitment to healthy eating.

It can be very difficult to change eating habits and even harder to deal with the rejection of peers. While the professional medical community identifies obesity as a physical health risk, the psychological effects also need to be addressed (Straus, 2000). In a research study entitled “Childhood Obesity and Self-Esteem,” Dr. Richard S. Strauss states;

“the psychological and social perils are at least as important to those afflicted by the problem. The reason is clear; society does not tolerate excess weight. The effects of this overt and covert pressure to be thin can be powerful and permanent (Straus, 2000).”

Childhood obesity is resulting in Parents outliving their children. Fast food restaurants, toxic food, and the SAD (Standard American Diet) are all contributing to the problem. Sunshine Health Care Center is committed to accompanying children and their Families on a path toward wellness. With compassion, love, understanding and a lot of fun; we believe children can be taught how to live healthier. We teach the entire family how to eat better and in turn live better. Our program consists of an initial evaluation, a comprehensive health physical, and laboratory assessment of both food sensitivities and neurotransmitters. Nutritional counseling, behavioral modification, physical concerns and emotional needs are all addressed in every follow–up visit as well.

The Sunshine Kids Wellness Program is a physician supervised weight management program for children and utilizes a rewards-for-behavior model. Weight loss goals are age appropriate and only encouraged if medically necessary. Restrictive dieting is not encouraged, rather the emphasis is on making healthy food choices. A Sunshine Kids Award Ceremony is conducted on the child’s first visit. The Sunshine dollar prize catalogue is then presented to the child along with Sunshine dollars. Sunshine dollars are earned by making healthy choices and if appropriate for weight loss. Children can spend their sunshine dollars on the prize of their choice.

For more information, please contact Sunshine Health Care Center.

Sunshine Kids Wellness Program:

Sunshine BucksEarn a Commitment to Wellness Award by signing up for the Sunshine Kids Wellness Program. Earn Sunshine Bucks for making healthy choices.

How to earn Sunshine Bucks:

ActivitySunshine Bucks Earned
Completing diet diary for one week2
Trying a new vegetable1
Eating a salad1
Telling someone about the dangers of eating fast food 2
Cooking a special recipe out of NEI Guide (Nutrition Education Initiative) 4
Using Wii Fitness for 1 hour 2
Walking with Mom or Dad or Pet for 30 minutes 2
School athletic practice 2
Drinking a fruit smoothie with no sugar added 1

*Bonus: For each pound lost, earn 1 Sunshine Buck

Spend Sunshine Dollars on any of the following:

PrizeSunshine Bucks Cost
Diamondbacks game tickets 20
Castles and Coasters 35
Zoo passes 35
Movie passes 15
Bowling passes 15
Toys R US Gift Card 50


Deckelbaum, R and Williams, C (Nov 1, 2001). Childhood Obesity: The Health Issue [Electronic Version]. Obesity Research 9, s239–S24

Straus, R, Dr. (January 2000) “Childhood Obesity and Self-Esteem
[ELECTRONIC ARTICLE]: PEDIATRICS Vol. 105 No. 1, p. e15 d S. from