Current Environment:

PHCA's weight management program is called Fit Lifestyles for Youth (FLY) and consists of, medical evaluations, physical activity, nutrition management and behavioral health counseling. The program runs for 12 week sessions throughout the year. During each session the registered participant is required to participate in the following; an initial family meeting to collect baseline data, nutrition evaluation with subsequent visits and twice weekly small group sessions at the gym with a personal trainer. The gym locations are the Melrose YMCA and the Lynch Van Otterloo YMCA in Marblehead. The days and times vary depending on the location chosen and the age of the participant. Melrose runs on Mondays and Wednesdays while Marblehead runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Enrollment is through referral by your medical provider at Pediatric Health Care Associates. Interested families may call the office to inquire about enrollment or you can discuss it at your upcoming office visit. The program does work with your health insurance company. If you have any copays or deductibles you may be responsible for them when attending office visits or having blood work done. If you have questions it is best to reach out to your health insurance company to inquire about your personal plan.


  • 9-17 years old (or through high school)
  • No secondary issues that would inhibit exercising in a busy environment with 1 adult to monitor 10+ children. This includes behavioral issues/ADHD/anxiety/ASD. Patients are evaluated on an individual basis to assess ability to participate in this group program
  • Patients with medical reasons for weight gain (meds/diagnosis) that will prohibit the child from being able to lose weight will be excluded.
  • BMI must be >30
  • The child must be able to participate in all aspects of the program and provide their own transportation. PT1 forms are not available for the gym portion of the program and the YMCA is Marblehead is not on a bus route.

Success Stories

Since the program started in 2015 we have been able to watch many participants grow, learn and achieve their personal goals. Each child may have many different goals along the way, but the ultimate result is weight loss. We have had the opportunity to watch children who were previously sedentary join sports teams with their peers, join Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) through school and attend the gym on their own regularly. The program is able to teach the participant and their family how to safely exercise and enjoy doing so. Our team has also seen wonderful results for those who struggle with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

We have been able to assist in reversing these health issues for many of our participants.

FLY Program team

Dr. Stephen Kanarek and Alison Carnevale RN, CPNP created a weight management program in 2015 for the patients of Pediatric Health Care Associates. The idea was to educate and provide opportunities for those struggling with their weight.

Margaret Stevens, MS, RD, LDN joined the FLY program in the spring of 2019. Margaret meets with families to help them learn about good nutrition and the foods that are important for optimal growth during childhood and adolescence. Topics covered in sessions include creating a balanced plate, healthy snacks and beverages, mindful eating, recipes to try new foods, and learning to listen to hunger and satiety signals.  Each family then picks a few attainable goals to work towards before their next follow-up appointment.