Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway offers SHAPEDOWN®, the nation's leading weight management program for children and adolescents. SHAPEDOWN was developed by faculty members of the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine and includes contributions from:

  • Nutrition
  • Exercise physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Psychology
  • Family therapy
  • Adolescent medicine
  • Family medicine
  • Behavioral and developmental pediatrics

SHAPEDOWN is continually reviewed and revised to ensure that it reflects current scientific and clinical understandings. The results of SHAPEDOWN go beyond weight. Children and teens in SHAPEDOWN enhance their self-esteem, improve peer relationships, adopt healthier habits and begin to normalize their weight. Parents feel better about their parenting and about their child. The family becomes healthier.

SHAPEDOWN Is Family-Based

Pediatric obesity research has shown that family-based treatment is effective even at a 10-year follow-up. Treatments that don't target the family do not have long term significant effects. SHAPEDOWN is family-based and targets overweight, nutrition and activity in both child and parents.

Addresses Underlying Factors

SHAPEDOWN incorporates a broad range of family therapy and educational techniques into treatment to address some of the underlying issues around a child or adolescent's weight. Included are problem solving, assertive and emotionally expressive communication and parenting skills including limit-setting. In addition, cognitive therapy, stress management techniques and body image therapies are used. Together, these techniques create the intimacy and safety children need to make changes that will affect their weight.


SHAPEDOWN’s dietary recommendations are consistent with the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowances and the National Cholesterol Education Project Guidelines. The recommendations for physical activity include increasing daily endurance activities, enhancing overall activity levels through chores, interests and social activities and decreasing sedentary pursuits such as television or computer viewing.

The SHAPEDOWN program meets at the RWJ Rahway Fitness & Wellness Center in Scotch Plains (2120 Lamberts Mill Road, Scotch Plains, N.J.). The price is $250 per family up to two children, and $25 for each additional child. Because it is family based, one or both parents or guardians participate in each session. Group size is limited to ensure individual attention. The program is led by a registered nurse, a registered dietitian and an exercise physiologist affiliated with RWJ Rahway.

Contact Information

  • Phone: (732) 499-6109

Patient Stories

  • “I was afraid I would miss food and want to eat more, but I just feel full with less food.”

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  • “I have no pain, and I’m so grateful to Dr. King. I can finally play with my grandchildren again.”

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  • “They're my little miracles.”

    Aiden, Joshua, and Hanna
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Patient Stories

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