The New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children's Hospital represents an innovative new effort in obesity research and treatment aimed at integrating patient care, research activities and community health initiatives to combat childhood obesity, the most prevalent childhood health problem today.
The New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children's Hospital is working to transform the lives of overweight and obese children nationwide through leadership in clinical care and research. Our mission is to:
- provide the highest quality healthcare for children who are at risk, overweight or obese
- conduct innovative research that furthers our understanding of the prevention and treatment of obesity and directly informs care
- raise awareness and educate the community about the prevention, causes and treatment of childhood obesity
In January 2011, Boston Children's Hospital received a major gift from the New Balance Foundation to form the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children's Hospital. Thanks to this donation, we can now offer significantly expanded patient services, shorter wait times, ancillary support (such as a physical activity consultant) and long-term follow-up care at our Longwood location and our Waltham satellite. This gift also enabled us to expand research, advocacy and educational activities.
Optimal Weight for Life Program
At Boston Children's, we have a long history of leadership and experience in obesity research and treatment. In 1996, David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, founded our Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) Program, now one of the nation's oldest and largest multispecialty obesity programs and a part of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children's Hospital. Since the program began, our multispecialty team has cared for over 7,500 children, providing patients and families with customized, age-appropriate weight management addressing dietary, physical and psychosocial aspects of obesity.
Because obesity is a complex disease with many interrelated causes, our OWL care team is made up of clinicians with diverse clinical expertise, including:
- nurses and nurse practitioners
- social workers
- a case manager
- a physical activity consultant
In addition, we have expanded our services into the community. The New Balance Foundation OWL on the Road Program serves four community health centers in Boston to make our care more accessible to patients. We are also in the process of developing novel telemedicine services in order to connect with more patients.
Ongoing research: BASH III
We are committed to understanding every aspect of obesity, from causes to prevention to effective treatments, through a wide variety of research activities. Currently, we are recruiting healthy young adults (ages 18 to 35) for a study on the health effects of sweetened beverage consumption (see Clinical Trials, page 7) as well as overweight adolescents for a variety of weight loss interventions.
We welcome referrals and requests for second opinions from pediatricians via our dedicated referral line and Web site. Our staff is also available to answer any questions you may have and arrange patient care. Our goal is to work in a creative, coordinated way with primary care physicians to address all aspects of a patient's care needs. In general, we evaluate children with:
- a body mass index approaching or exceeding the 95th percentile
- rapid unexplained weight gain at any weight
- significant obesity-related complications, such as type II diabetes and polycystic ovarian syndrome
We currently offer all services at both our Longwood and Waltham locations, with less than a one-month wait for new appointments, and will launch patient services in Peabody early this summer.
More information: childrenshospital.org/newbalancefoundationcenter
Make a referral: 617-355-5159, fax records to 617-730-0467
David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD
Cara Ebbeling, PhD, MS
Associate Director for Research and Training
Emily Isreal, PhD
Associate Director for Patient Care Initiatives
Elizabeth Nahar, MSW, MBA
Amy Fleischman, MD, MMSc
Medical Director, Optimal Weight for Life Program
Suzanne Rostler, MS, RD, LDN
Web and Curriculum Development