Worthy is a program designed for parents who are struggling to help their child

who has gained too much weight too fast.

Course Includes:

4 Live, Interactive Zoom Sessions

Downloadable Videos & MP3s

Course Readings

Downloadable Tips and Tools Resources

JoAnn Stevelos MS, MPH

JoAnn Stevelos, MS, MPH


Parent~Researcher~Children's Wellness Advisor

These 3 roles helped me to develop Worthy! A transformative program for parents who are worried about their child who is gaining too much weight too fast. Worthy is a 5 week program that will help your child feel loved, hopeful, and safe at their "healthiest weight."

My Work

As former Director of the NYS Center for Best Practices to Prevent Childhood Obesity I learned how to best help parents talk with doctors, teachers, relatives, friends, and neighbors when their child is gaining too much weight too fast. As former Director of Research, Evaluation, and Learnings for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s children’s school wellness programs, and evaluator of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program, I learned that the obesity epidemic is complex, daunting, and that simple solutions don't work.

Visit my blog on Psychology Today, Children at the Table to learn more about my work in children's health.

My Why

Over the years I have listened to many parents share their deepest feelings about their own weight and their children’s weight. Feelings about weight gain and weight loss are deeply embedded in our personal histories. These feelings can bring on bouts of depression, shame, and hopelessness. For many of us, we have lost our ability, our personal armor, to protect our sense of self from feeling less than, from feeling unworthy.

During my research, many brave parents have shared their own stories of feeling unworthy because of their size and shape. Many times a parent would stop and look away—still feeling shame, embarrassment, unworthiness.

There is one interview I will never forget. A parent shared a name they were called by their sibling and how much it still hurts. Her story broke my heart. I am a co-crier by nature, so I teared up right along with her as we recognized as adults how awful it was to be called that terrible name as a child. We can do better for our children. We can help them feel proud of their shape and size and of their many talents that make them special.

When you sign up for Worthy you will be part of a pioneering group of parents who will change the way we care for children who are gaining too much weight too fast.

Worthy will show you how to use the power of kindness to help your child feel worthy, loved, supported, and hopeful!

Worthy: Helping Children Be Their Healthiest Weight

Empowering parents to help children who have gained too much weight too fast while keeping them safe, happy, and at their healthiest weight!

Our children's hearts must be tended to. Their hearts must be nurtured and cared for tenderly and with compassion. The obesity epidemic has created a lot of places that leave us, and our children, feeling unwelcome, unloved, like outsiders. We need to reclaim our loving tenderness towards ourselves and our children and set strong boundaries around the kind of words we use about our bodies and our children bodies.

Loneliness, isolation, hopelessness can damage or weaken our hearts and make them work harder to pump blood. Love, kindness, compassion, tenderness provide the best fuel to help our hearts do their job. 

How do we care for our hearts and our children’s hearts?

By learning to set boundaries that protect ourselves and our children from negative environments, people, and events. And by speaking kindly to ourselves and our children about our bodies, and rightly demanding how others speak about our size and our children’s size.

Our hearts need us to focus on the things we do well, the things that make us feel loved, the things that bring us joy and contentment. Our hearts need us and our children to be at their healthiest weight.

During Worthy you will learn what is a "healthiest weight" as well as the following:

  • Learn the latest on the childhood obesity epidemic and how it may affect your child. 

  • Learn the 5 things that are needed for your child to be their "healthiest weight."

  • Learn ways to set productive boundaries at home, at school, and at the doctor’s office so your child can thrive.

  • Develop an action plan to transform your child’s world so they feel safe, healthy, and happy everywhere. 

COVID-19 and Children Gaining Too Much Weight, Too Fast

School: mostly online. Extra curricular activities: canceled. Social distancing and quarantine: feel never-ending. With COVID-19 and its impact touching us all, it's no surprise we are turning to food and Netflix for comfort. And, as a result, more children are gaining too much weight too fast.

Enrolling in Worthy will help your family reclaim and reframe healthy routines and learn how to be at your healthiest weight during this crisis.

Should I Talk About Weight With My Child?

Because obesity is a complex problem, we must be very careful when we accept easy answers for why children are gaining weight rapidly. If we believe that obesity is simply the result of eating too much and not exercising enough we are putting the blame on the children and more often, the parents.

Enrolling in Worthy will help you explore what is the best way to talk about weight in your family. You will develop your own script for talking about weight inside and outside the home.

The Power of Kindness

There is a way for us to talk about gaining too much wight too fast with love, compassion, and kindness. There is a way to feel worthy and compassionate towards ourselves and our children at any size, at any weight. When it comes to parenting children in this obesity crisis, we must pay attention and stay engaged.

Enrolling in Worthy will help you and your child build resilience and courage to keep trying to make healthy choices, be active, and find the simple joys of having meaningful and deep connections at home, at school, and in their communities.

What Parents Are Saying

I am grateful for Worthy. As a mother and aunt to 11 children, most of whom are on the cusp of puberty, I found myself at a loss and not knowing how to best support these children I love as they begin to feel growing pressures and anxieties about their body sizes and shapes. After participating in the Worthy workshop I now have information, strategies, and resources to help our family build healthy habits not only around food, but also relating to our mindsets and how we communicate with each other and ourselves. A very big thank you to JoAnn and her team for developing Worthy!