Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) Program
Because obesity is affected by the interplay of genetics, diet, physical activity level, and psychological factors, the OWL Program combines the expertise of specialists in endocrinology, nutrition, behavioral medicine, social work, and physical therapy to develop successful lifestyle interventions for obese children and adolescents.
All new patients will be evaluated by an attending physician and sometimes by a nurse practitioner. This examination includes:
- Comprehensive personal and family history
- Physical Examination
- Laboratory Tests
- Diabetes Education and Management
The purpose of this evaluation is to identify any underlying medical conditions (such as a hormone problem) and potential complications (including high cholesterol, diabetes, or gastrointestinal disease).
Dietary modification is a primary treatment approach used in the OWL Program. Only under rare circumstances would weight-reducing medications be considered. After complete dietary analysis, patients are given meal recommendations. We frequently prescribe a "low glycemic index" diet to help stabilize changes in blood sugar after eating and, thereby, help control excessive appetite. During the initial evaluation, families meet privately with a dietitian to discuss practical aspects of starting the recommended meal plan.
Behavior modification focuses on increasing motivation to change diet and physical activity level, using a combination of short-term individual and family psychotherapy sessions. These treatments may also help children cope with the emotional stresses associated with being overweight.
The OWL program sometimes participates in research studies. You may be approached to participate. Your participation in any study is completely optional; your decisions will have no effect on care that you receive.