The clinical arm of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children’s Hospital, the Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) Program is one of the oldest and largest pediatric obesity clinics in the nation. Patient care is infused with the findings from our extensive research, resulting in the most innovative and up-to-date treatments.
The OWL program is dedicated to treating children who are overweight or obese (BMI at or above the 85th percentile), or those with or at risk for type 2 diabetes, with an integrated approach that includes medical care, nutritional counseling and behavioral modification customized for the individual’s needs. The multidisciplinary team is made up of endocrinologists, nutritionists, behavioral health experts, physical activity specialists and social workers who help the patient change many aspects of their life, leading to a healthier future.
Get insight and inspiration from some of our success stories.
Learn more about the Optimal Weight for Life Program.
Care at the hospital
Preventive Cardiology Clinic
For more than 30 years, the Preventive Cardiology Clinic at Boston Children’s has offered state-of-the-art services aimed at identifying and medically managing the risk factors—particularly abnormal cholesterol and blood pressure often related to excess weight—that lead to cardiac events in adulthood. Its goals are to prevent heart attack, stroke and other acute cardiac events later in life; to decrease mortality; and to increase a child's future quality of life.
PREP offers evaluation and treatment of obesity for teens with a BMI above the 85th percentile. The clinical approach includes promotion of health and weight loss, recognition of co-morbidities (health conditions caused by or correlated with obesity), education of teens and their families on weight and fitness and the prevention of obesity.
Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program
For teens whose weight exceeds the 99th percentile, surgery may be a part of the long-term (indeed, lifelong) treatment plan. The Adolescent Bariatric Surgery Program provides education, nutritional planning and psychosocial support as necessary adjuncts to minimally-invasive weight -loss surgery.
Targeting Lifestyle Change (TLC)
Patients of Boston Children's Primacy Care Center may be referred to this 8-week program focused on building self-esteem and developing healthy diet and activity habits. TLC helps children aged 10 to 13 and their parents build a healthy foundation for their lives together.
One Step Ahead (OSA)
OSA provides children and teens aged 3 to 13 with medical evaluations; nutritional counseling; access to physical activities and resources; and behavioral psychology services to encourage them to stay healthy. One way OSA helps children eat more healthfully is by identifying culturally appropriate food choices for families.
Care in the community
Fitness in the City
Fitness in the City is a weight management program operated through Boston Children's Hospital's Office of Child Advocacy and working in conjunction with 11 community health centers in Boston, including Boston Children's own Martha Eliot Health Center in Jamaica Plain. Primary care physicians at these sites refer families to case managers (either nutritionists or social workers) who serve as "healthy eating and activity coaches."
New Balance Foundation OWL on the Road Program
New Balance Foundation OWL on the Road provides on-site nutritional counseling, eating behavior guidance and education at four community health centers in Boston. These dedicated teams include a physician, nurse practitioner, registered dietician and psychologist. OWL on the Road was made possible in part by a generous donation from the New Balance Foundation in 2008.
I'm iN Charge (INC)
A component of the Adolescent Services Program at Martha Eliot Health Center, I'm iN Charge is a youth diabetes prevention and healthy lifestyle promotion program. INC is a family-centered, community-based service that is culturally adapted to the needs of Latinos and African-Americans.
Healthy Kids/Health Futures
Launched in March of 2009, Healthy Kids/Healthy Futures is an obesity prevention program focused on the pre-school population.
Healthy Family Fun social marketing campaign
Launched by Boston Children's Office of Child Advocacy in May of 2010, Healthy Family Fun is a social marketing campaign (supported by public transit posters and TV ads) designed to promote healthy community norms and bolster the use of existing community-based resources that promote healthy behaviors.