New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center

Kids running with a girl wearing a New Balance shirt - obesity prevention

Preventing childhood obesity for a healthier tomorrow

The New Balance Foundation and Boston Children’s Hospital share a mission to end the childhood obesity epidemic.

Today, an estimated one in three children is affected by excess weight or obesity. Some children face risk of weight-related health complications, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression.

The New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s was established to empower families to lead healthy and active lifestyles through a comprehensive program of research, education, state-of-the-art patient care, community partnerships, and advocacy.

Our vision is for every child to grow up with access to nutritious foods, fun physical activities, and caring adults who model healthy lifestyles.

Boston Children’s fit kit

Healthy habits are important for everybody in the family, regardless if the goal is overall general health or weight loss in particular. Since 2017, we have partnered with youth development organizations to provide reliable guidance on healthy living via the Boston Children’s fit kit, with resources on five key topics that directly impact children’s health:

Here, the Boston Children’s fit kit is available for families. Resources include educational videos, active games, fun recipes, and more.

What foods should my child eat for overall health?

Low-carb or low-fat?

The results of this study may help change 50 years of thinking about diet.

What’s the best diet for losing weight and keeping it off? Research conducted by Cara Ebbeling, PhD, MS, and David Ludwig, MD, PhD, co-directors of the center, and their team, is providing evidence-based answers to these questions.

You have probably heard that weight loss requires “eating less and exercising more.” But it’s not quite that simple. Our research shows that various foods affect the body differently. Refined carbohydrates — like white bread, white rice, most breakfast cereals, and highly-processed snack foods — digest quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin. As a result, blood sugar crashes, hunger increases, and metabolism slows — setting the stage for weight gain.

A low-glycemic diet, which emphasizes minimally processed foods that digest slowly and do not cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin, is beneficial both for overall health and weight loss.

Medical treatment for children with obesity

Children with obesity may develop insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, or other weight-related complications. To prevent long-term serious health problems, children who struggle to reach a healthy weight may benefit from working with a weight management team. The Optimal Wellness for Life (OWL) Program at Boston Children’s — one of the oldest and largest multidisciplinary clinics in the country — is part of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center. The mission of the OWL Program is to improve children’s long-term health and quality of life while reducing weight stigma. The OWL team develops individualized care plans for families by combining the expertise of pediatric endocrinologists, registered dietitians (nutritionists), behavioral medicine psychologists, a resource specialist, and an exercise program coordinator.

New Balance Foundation: A true leader and partner

The New Balance Foundation and Boston Children’s Hospital share a deep commitment to end the childhood obesity epidemic and have a lasting impact on our nation’s health. As part of that commitment the Foundation generously invested significant funds to establish the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

The exceptional philanthropy of the New Balance Foundation has made it possible for Boston Children’s to accelerate scientific inquiry into the causes of excess weight in children and create innovative programs and resources like the Boston Children’s fit kit that are changing the way kids and their parents think about nutrition and physical activity.

The New Balance Foundation’s leadership, partnership, and continued support has helped Boston Children’s become one of the nation’s foremost authorities on pediatric obesity treatment and prevention, giving us a stronger voice as advocates for children’s health.