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About the 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 Optimal Wellness for Life (OWL) program

Children and their families first complete a comprehensive evaluation in clinic by meeting individually with a medical provider (physician or nurse practitioner). After these initial visits, introductions to the nutrition and behavioral medicine components will be offered. If a family chooses to enroll in the OWL program, they will then meet individually with their nutritionist and psychologist monthly for six months. They will be seen by their medical provider every three months for six months. After the six-month period, ongoing care will be individualized for the patient and family. 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 include a comprehensive personal and family history, physical exam, and laboratory tests to identify any underlying medical conditions (such as hormone problems) and potential weight-related medical complications (such as high cholesterol, insulin resistance, fatty liver, 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 index" 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.

Health and behavior education and counseling

Behavior medicine consultation helps maximize the effectiveness of the medical and nutrition guidance offered in the OWL program. Individual and family sessions with a psychologist focus on developing healthier habits for everyone at home.  Small goals are established, progress is made step-by-step, and strategies are developed to address challenges. Psychologists also discuss how emotions are related to your child’s health. If greater emotional support is needed, we can assist with a referral to the appropriate providers.

Connecting families to community resources

Here at the OWL program, we believe in the value of a strong support structure. OWL’s resource specialist can 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 Division of Endocrinology is pleased to announce that our call center for scheduling appointments is now open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. OWL medical, nutrition, and behavioral medicine appointments can be scheduled at our clinics in Boston, Peabody, and Waltham. Please call today to make an appointment with our specialists at 617-355-5159.