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WELL Center Child and Adolescent Eating and Weight Disorders Program

The Child and Adolescent Program within the WELL Center at Drexel University conducts research and provides high-quality, evidence-based treatment and clinical services to children and adolescents ages 2-19 with eating and weight concerns.


Eating and weight issues such as binge eating, purging, restrictive eating and overweight/obesity often start during childhood and adolescence. Eating disorders and obesity can poorly impact a child or teen’s quality of life and may cause severe and life-threatening health complications. Early detection and effective treatment are necessary to prevent the problematic medical and psychological consequences of eating and weight disorders.

Complete the first step of entering a research study or the clinic

See below for more details on ongoing no-cost clinical trials and fee-for-service treatment options at the Child and Adolescent Program at the WELL Center.


Project BEAT: Cognitive-behavioral treatment for adolescents (ages 12-18) with binge eating

Does your teen struggle with out-of-control eating? Your teen may be eligible to receive no-cost individual, 12 weekly sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for reducing binge eating. CBT focuses on regularizing eating patterns, reducing problematic eating and dieting behaviors, and decreasing shape and weight concerns. Parents and teens will complete surveys, and teens will also complete additional assessments, including computerized tasks during which we will take measurements of skin sweating and heart rate. To find out more email

Start the enrollment process for Project BEAT

Project PICNIC: Parent coaching for children (ages 2-10) with diet and weight concerns

Are you a parent of a child between ages 2-10 years old? Do you struggle to encourage your child to eat healthy foods, such as vegetables? Have you been told that your child would benefit from weight loss? You may be eligible for a research study teaching parents new skills to help their child eat a healthier diet. Participants will receive in-the-moment coaching to learn new skills and make mealtimes with children less problematic and more enjoyable. To find out more, schedule a call, or send an email to

Learn more about Project Picnic
Start the Enrollment Process for Project PICNIC


The WELL Clinic offers fee-for-service evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents with eating disorders and weight concerns. Below, we describe the evidence-based treatments available for children and adolescents in the WELL Clinic.

Learn more about the WELL Clinic

Family-based Treatment (FBT) for eating disorders

In FBT, the eating disorder is viewed as an external force that has taken control of the child; neither the parents nor the child are to blame for the eating disorder. Full nutrition is viewed as a critical first step in recovery and the role of parents is to actively feed their child. FBT sessions usually involve the entire family and include at least one family meal in the therapist’s office. This gives the therapist an opportunity to observe the behaviors of different family members during a meal and to coach the parents to help their child eat. FBT takes place over three phases: Full parental control, a gradual return of control to the adolescent, and establishing healthy independence.

FBT is the leading treatment for adolescent anorexia nervosa and is an effective treatment for bulimia nervosa.

Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment (CBT) for eating disorders

In CBT, eating disorder behaviors such as restrictive eating, binge eating and sometimes purging (such as self-induced vomiting, over-exercise, laxative use) result from an overemphasis on one’s shape, weight and body in judging one’s self-worth. Teens, as a result of over-valuing shape and weight, start dieting, which can lead to low body weight and/or binge eating behavior, starting a restrictive-binge eating (and sometimes purging) cycle. A critical portion of the treatment is focused on normalizing eating habits, reducing dietary restriction, and establishing healthy alternative activities to eating disorder behaviors. There is also focus on reducing the value teens place on their body shape and weight.

CBT is an effective treatment for bulimia nervosa and binge eating.

Family-based treatment for obesity (FBT-O)

In FBT-O, families are provided with guidance about food choices, including reducing high-calorie foods and increasing intake of fruits and vegetables. Families are taught strategies to increase physical activity and to decrease sedentary behaviors, such as watching television and playing computer games. The treatment is based around behavior modification techniques such as self-monitoring, environmental changes, and goal-setting, and stimulus control. Additionally, families are given instructions in setting realistic expectations, promoting body image, minimizing emotional eating, and coping with teasing.

FBT-O is an effective treatment for reducing overweight in children.