The Department of Pediatrics' Nutrition and Fitness for Life Program is an innovative clinical and community-centered obesity prevention and treatment program. Through unique interventions, initiatives and collaborations, the Nutrition & Fitness for Life Program seeks to support children and families in leading healthier lives.
In 2009, the Nutrition & Fitness for Life clinic began a secondary prevention program called Hi-5 Way, which focuses on children under 6 years of age who are overweight or rapidly gaining weight. For more information, please see the Patient Handout and the eligibility criteria on this page.
The Nutrition & Fitness for Life Program's community branch aims to build the capacity of communities to support Boston youth and families in developing healthier lifestyles. To do so, the program develops and implements nutrition education and fitness programming for children and families.
The Nutrition & Fitness for Life Program develops and hosts workshops, conferences, and seminars for health professionals and area youth workers. The program also advocates for positive environmental changes and health policies, serves as a consultant group for new pediatric weight management programs, and is involved in research and educational activities.
The Nutrition and Fitness for Life Program was initiated in May 2002 by Caroline Apovian, MD, director of the Center for Weight Management and Nutrition at BMC and Barry Zuckerman, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at BMC, as a clinical pilot project to identify the feasibility and success of an adolescent weight management clinic. The pilot clinic offered medical, nutritional and physical activity counseling with adjunct initiatives.
The program was expanded in the summer 2003 under the leadership of Carine Lenders, MD, and clinical dietician, Vivien Morris, who focused on the pediatric weight management clinic and community-based interventions, respectively.
The Nutrition & Fitness for Life Program serves approximately 400 families through its two arms, provides education and training to primary and specialty health providers, community leaders, undergraduate students and medical students.
In 2009, the Nutrition & Fitness for Life clinic began a secondary prevention program focusing on children under six years of age who are overweight or rapidly gaining weight such that they are at risk of overweight.
A referral from a Primary Care Physician is required for evaluation and treatment in the Nutrition & Fitness for Life clinic. Please see the eligibility criteria below. The Nutrition and Fitness for Life Patient Brochure has information regarding our current services.
0.5 to 1.9 years
2 to 5.9 years
|Nutrition & Fitness for Life Clinic Treatment
6 to 18 years or older
Crossing Weight-for-Age Percentiles
-from 50th to greater than 75th -from 75th to greater than 90th
≥ 95th percentile
|Prior Attempts to Manage Weight
|At least 3-6 months trial with PCP & then 3-6 months work with outpatient RD/nutritionist.
|Readiness to Change
|Parent/guardian in preparation or action
|Parent/guardian in preparation or action
For a Child ≥ 12 Years
For a Teenager
For Medical Professionals
Refer a Patient
We are committed to providing a high level of assistance to our physician colleagues within BMC and outside of the BMC system, as well. Whether for diagnostics, treatment, a single consultation, second opinion or ongoing follow up, our physicians will keep the consulting physician fully informed of the patient's treatment plan and coordinate long-term management.
For BMC PCP: Please fill out referral form in Logician. Please also call the Nutrition & Fitness for Life line at 617.414.4841 or flag Eunice Santos in Logician to make sure the referral is received and processed.
For Non-BMC PCP: Please complete referral form.
Please attach a patient's growth charts and relevant recent lab work and fax the form to 617.414.3644.
Admit/Transfer a Patient
To transfer or admit a patient, please call our on-call patient admitting service, accessible 24/7. Pager number: 617.638.5795, #1111.
Treatments & Services
The Nutrition and Fitness for Life Program's specialty weight management clinic provides a comprehensive family and behavioral approach, as this is the sole evidence-based approach in pediatrics that has proven successful in treating obesity in children. However, many families are not ready for behavior management and need counseling sessions on roles and responsibilities, communication and motivation.
The core program focuses on motivation and readiness to change. The initial visit includes a physician and dietitian visit for in-depth medical, nutritional and physical activity assessment of the patient, as well as a psychological screening. At the end of the visit, an action plan is developed for the family.
A typical patient receives the following services each year
- Assessment and evaluation by physician and dietitian
- A lifestyle change intervention (action plan) with intensive treatment during six clinic visits within three to six months followed by maintenance visits up to one year
- Psychologist treatment plan based on initial screening
- Maintenance and relapse prevention visits with the clinical team
The Nutrition and Fitness for Life clinical team follows children with more complex medical issues more frequently. Care plans are developed in conjunction with primary care and other specialty clinics, such as endocrinology, child psychology, sleep lab, ear, nose and throat and cardiology. Approximately 13 percent of Nutrition & Fitness for Life's patients require ongoing psychological counseling because stigmatization, depression and diminished quality of life from teasing and social marginalization are part of the profound psychological impact of being overweight.
Nutrition and Fitness for Life is designed as a 12-month clinical program including 3 to 6 months of intensive treatment followed by maintenance sessions. The program tailors care to each family's needs.
Aimée Lim-Miller, MSW, LICSW
Kathy Ireland, MS, RD, LDN
Clinical Dietician and Program Coordinator
The Nutrition and Fitness for Life Clinic has received funding for patients and clinical operations from the Department of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center, the Massachusetts Vitamin Litigation Settlement, the Boston Red Sox Foundation, the Fleet Perpetual Trust for Charitable Giving, Bank of America, the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation, Loomis, Sayles & Company, LP, the American Heart Association and the BMC Kids Fund.
Thank You! The Nutrition and Fitness for Life Program thanks the following individuals for their service to the program.
|Former Staff &
Volunteers / Interns & Consultants
|Tara Agrawal, MPH
Caroline Apovian, MD, FACN
Lee Banh, MS, RD
Melanie Bradford, MS, RD
Emily Burritt, MS, RD, CNSD
Diana Cullum-Dugan, RD, LD
Emily Cummings, MS, RD
Judith Fallows, MEd
Cheryl Jesuit, MS, RD
Lakshmi Kolagotla, MD, MPH
Preeta Kuty, MD
Shaheen Lakhani, PsyD.
Kayoung Lee, MD, PhD
Margaret Marino, PhD
Holly Oh, MD
Lauren Oliver, MS, RD
Hope Parsons, RD, LDN
Judy Philips, MS, RD, LDN
Vijay Srinivasan MD, MPH
Pooja Tandon, MD
Robert Vinci, MD
Laura Wroblewski, RD, LDN
|Affiliate Media, LLC
Jessica Blom-Hoffman, PhD
Nativita D'Haitii, RD
Judith Fallows, MEd
Carline Jean-Baptiste, PhD
Maria Pontes Ferriera
Scott Tropy, MPH
Education and Training
Boston Medical Center's Nutrition & Fitness for Life Program participates in various education and training programs, including:
- Vertical integration of nutrition and weight management in the medical school curriculum
- Fourth year advanced-pediatric-nutrition elective for Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine medical students
- "Obesity Cycle," A Teacher's Guide to Pediatric Nutrition website
- Yearly CMEs and CEUs for health professionals with interests in pediatric ambulatory weight management
- Nutrition education for families and community leaders
- More than 200 regional and national presentations