Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) Program
Who we are
The Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) Program at Children’s Hospital Boston is a multi-disciplinary clinic dedicated to treating children who are overweight or obese, and/or those with or at risk for type 2 diabetes. We believe that:
- The obesity epidemic is a true epidemic, rooted in today’s cultural and societal environments.
- With "adult" diabetes and atherosclerosis sharply rising in children and adolescents, obesity treatment and prevention is a smart investment—from both public health and economic perspectives.
- To most effectively battle the obesity epidemic, we need both clinical research and changes to public policy and government regulations.
To help end this epidemic, the OWL program at Children’s is committed to:
- provide state-of-the-art care for overweight children
- develop innovative treatments for pediatric obesity through clinical research
- promote public awareness and prevention efforts
The battle against obesity
We believe that in the battle against obesity, each child has his own needs. Since obesity may be a product of many components, including genetics, diet, level of physical activity, and psychological factors, the OWL program combines the expertise of a range of specialists, including:
- pediatric endocrinologists
- certified nutritionists and dieticians
- specialists in behavioral medicine
- physical therapists
- social workers
We primarily help our patients using a combination of nutritional counseling and behavioral modification.
Dietary modification is a primary treatment used in the OWL program, and only under rare circumstances are weight-reducing medications be considered. We frequently prescribe a "low glycemic index" diet to help control excessive appetite, but depending on your child’s needs, other dietary approaches are also available.
During the initial evaluation, your family meets privately with a dietitian to discuss how to ease the transition to a more healthful way of eating for your child and your family.
Behavior modification uses a combination of short-term individual and family psychotherapy sessions to increase motivation to change diet and physical activity level. These treatments may also help children cope with the emotional stresses associated with being overweight and boost confidence.
Here at the OWL program, we believe strongly in the value of a strong support structure, and we can put you in contact with other families and access other community resources. Together, we can help your child switch to a more healthful lifestyle.