Children's Emergency Department is now located in Children's Tower: 1001 E. Marshall Street.

Learn more
View alerts close
Two teenage girls enjoy a healthy meal
TEENS Teaching, Encouragement, Exercise, Nutrition and Support Enrollment for this research trial is currently closed.Visit the Healthy Lifestyles Clinic for group and individual weight management services:

About the Program

TEENS is a 4-month, family-based lifestyle intervention for teens ages 12 to 16 years who are overweight. The program is funded by the National Institutes of Health and offered by Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU. TEENS includes weekly, virtual interactive group classes for teens and parents that cover topics including healthy eating, physical activity and goal-setting. Teens also participate in live, online exercise sessions led by personal trainers to improve their physical fitness


Hear what a past TEENS family has to say about this program in an interview with Focus Richmond!



  1. To be eligible to join TEENS, your teen must:

    • Be between 12-16 years old
    • Have a body mass index (BMI) above the 85th percentile (calculate your teen's BMI percentile using the calculator)
    • Have no medical conditions that directly lead to weight gain or loss
    • Have a primary care physician
    • Receive medical clearance to participate. Clearance can be obtained from their health care provider (using this form) or the TEENS study physician.
  2. Teens must also have a motivated parent/guardian with a BMI ≥ 25 that will participate in the program with them (calculate your BMI using this calculator)

    • Parents must have medical clearance (using this form) from their health care provider in order to participate in the program
  3. Both the teen and the parent must:

    • Be able to safely perform standard exercise activities
    • Have stable internet connection and access to a device with a webcam (e.g. smartphone, tablet or laptop). These could be provided for use during the study if needed.
    • Be comfortable participating in virtual group classes and able to understand and follow basic instructions during program sessions
    • Females must not be pregnant
  4. Families must live within a 60-mile radius of the program
    2303 N Parham Rd #1
    Henrico, VA 23229
    View on Google Maps

BMI Calculator


Date of Measurement




Boy Girl


Date of Measurement




Boy Girl

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Q: What will we do in the program?

    • Teens will participate in a weekly, virtual group class about lifestyle change with either girls or boys their age; parents will participate in a weekly, virtual group about family lifestyle changes with other parents.
    • Teens will participate in live, online exercise sessions with personal trainers at least 1 day a week.
    • Parents and teens will complete assessments including body measurements and surveys during the program to track their progress.
    • Teens will have laboratory blood work including screening for diabetes and high cholesterol at the beginning and end of the program.
    • Most TEENS activities occur in the afternoon or evening.
    • Families with more than one caregiver and/or child in the home have the opportunity to participate in a supplementary study as part of TEENS. This would involve additional caregivers and/or children completing abbreviated assessments for compensation. These individuals would not participate in TEENS.
  2. Q: Are any aspects of the program held in-person?

    • Group and individual sessions are offered virtually using Zoom, a free, online conferencing platform.
    • Some activities have both a virtual and in-person option. This includes a cooking class and personal training sessions.
    • Adolescent medical clearance can be conducted either in person by the study medical provider or can be provided by your own pediatrician, using this form that we provide.
    • Limited in-person visits for study assessments and materials with travel reimbursement provided.
  3. Q: How long is the program?

    • The program is 4 months long, with a follow-up visit 4 months and 8 months after program completion to follow up with how your family is doing.
  1. Q: What will I receive for participating?

    • You and your teen will receive valuable education and practical ideas about how to improve your health. Your family will also receive $25 for completing the assessment visit at 2 months, $50 for completing the assessment at the end of the 4 month program, $75 for returning for the assessment visit at 8 months, and $100 for returning for the assessment at 12 months.
    • Travel reimbursement provided for travel to assessment visits.
  2. Q: How much does it cost to participate?

    • TEENS is funded by the National Institutes of Health and offered at no cost to participants! All the information, training, and testing that you and your teen receive will be provided free of charge.
    • Participants will be expected to provide their own transportation to and from program activities.
  3. Q: Will I have to take any medications or pills in this program?

    • No. TEENS is a lifestyle treatment program, meaning your family will make changes to your eating and physical activity to promote weight loss, improved fitness and overall health - medications will not be used in this study.
  4. Q: I’m not sure this study is a good fit for my family. Are there other options to help with weight management for my teen?

    Q: How do I sign up for TEENS?

Ready to sign up?

Complete this brief online screening questionnaire to see if you're eligible OR contact our staff by email at or phone (804) 827-TEEN for additional information or to determine if you are eligible.

Here are additional resources that may be a good fit for your family: