Optimal Wellness for Life (OWL) Program

The Optimal Wellness for Life (OWL) program at Boston Children's Hospital is a multidisciplinary clinic dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of children with insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and other weight-related health complications.

We believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach and work with each family to address the medical, nutritional, social, physical, and emotional factors impacting a child’s health and quality of life. As a multidisciplinary team, we develop an individualized care plan for every child by combining the expertise of a range of specialists, including:

  • pediatric endocrinologists
  • registered dietitians
  • behavioral medicine psychologists
  • resource specialist
  • exercise program coordinator

What to Expect in the OWL Program

Children and their families first complete a comprehensive evaluation in clinic by meeting individually with a medical, behavioral, and nutritional specialist. After these initial visits, regular check-ins are encouraged to monitor progress, review individualized goals, and provide ongoing support. Below is an overview of the type of information discussed during your child’s visits with each OWL specialist:

Medical Evaluation and Monitoring

Medical evaluation and monitoring includes a comprehensive personal and family history, physical exam and lab tests to identify any underlying medical conditions (such as hormone problems) and potential weight-related medical complications (such as high cholesterol, insulin resistance, or polycystic ovary syndrome).

Nutritional Education and Counseling

Dietary modification is a primary treatment used in the OWL program. We frequently recommend a "low glycemic" eating plan to help improve blood glucose levels, appetite, energy level and overall health. Depending on your child’s needs, other dietary approaches are also available. During the initial evaluation, a dietitian will discuss how to ease the transition to a more healthful way of eating for your child and your family.

Behavior Modification

Behavior modification uses a combination of short-term individual and family psychotherapy sessions to increase motivation to improve eating, exercise, sleep and screen time habits. These treatments may also help children improve body image and cope with the emotional stresses associated with living in a larger body.

Connecting Families to Community Resources

Here at the OWL program, we believe strongly in the value of a strong support structure. We can help put you in contact with other families and access other community resources. OWL’s resource specialist can also help children and their families connect to local resources such as fitness centers or food pantries to support a healthy lifestyle.

OWL Program Update: Optimal Wellness for Life

If you have been a part of the OWL program in the past, you may have noticed the name of our program has changed. Instead of Optimal Weight for Life, OWL now stands for Optimal Wellness for Life to better represent the OWL program’s mission: to improve children’s long-term health and quality of life while reducing weight stigma.

Schedule an OWL Appointment

The Endocrinology Division is pleased to announce that our call center for scheduling appointments is now open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. At present, OWL medical, nutrition, and behavioral medicine appointments can be scheduled at our clinics in Boston, Peabody, and Waltham; visit here for detailed information on clinic locations. Please call today to make an appointment with our specialists at 617-355-5159.