Current Environment:

Visiting the OWL Program

The OWL Program gladly accepts new patients 2 to 18 years old with their families. Patients younger than 18 are required to have a parent or guardian present for each visit. Patients younger than 2 are generally referred to the Clinical Nutrition Service or the Division of Endocrinology for initial evaluation; exceptions, can be made on a case-by-case basis by one of our attending physicians.

Initial consultation

Medical information

You should have your child’s medical information from their primary care physician or other providers outside of Boston Children's Hospital (such as growth charts, relevant notes, and recent lab results) faxed to 617-730-0194 before your visit.

Your arrival

The OWL Program is offered at three Boston Children’s locations. It is important that family members who are involved in meal planning, shopping, and cooking attend the appointment, if possible.

Your visit

We ask for any adult attending a visit at Boston Children’s to please bring a photo ID. Adults may be asked to show the ID prior to entering the hospital.

Patients will meet with a physician or nurse practitioner. We will:

  • Discuss the possible reasons why the patient is overweight/obese
  • Review potential complications of excessive body weight
  • Formulate a follow-up plan

The following evaluation will be performed:

  • Comprehensive personal and family history
  • Physical examination
  • Laboratory tests

The purpose of this evaluation is to identify any underlying medical conditions (such as a hormone problem) and potential complications (such as high cholesterol, insulin resistance, fatty liver, or polycystic ovary syndrome).

In addition, you may be approached to participate in a study; patients in our program often do. Your participation in any study is completely optional; your decision will have no effect on the care that you receive.

Return appointments

If your family opts to participate in the OWL Program, we will schedule follow-up visits.

A minimum commitment of six months is required to fully integrate lifestyle changes. After six months, follow-up appointments will be determined with your team.

Insurance and financial

Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not yet recognize the importance of timely evaluation and treatment of obesity in children. We strongly recommend that you discuss coverage with your insurance company before scheduling an appointment.

A list of FAQs regarding billing is available online.

Referrals and second opinions

Boston Children's Hospital’s Optimal Wellness for Life Program is committed to improving access to and communication with our pediatric specialists and services for community providers.

Children and teens with body mass indexes at or above the 95th percentile or who have gained unexplained weight can get appointments at our Boston, Peabody, and Waltham locations.

To speak with someone about referring a patient, please call 617-355-5159.