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COVID-19 has had a profound effect on how we work, parent, and live our daily lives and of course, our kids’ health. Between food insecurity, increased snacking, reliance on processed foods, distance learning, disrupted schedules and sedentary behaviors, for months pediatricians have voiced their concerns about pandemic weight gain, rising rates of childhood obesity, and other chronic conditions. 
In this episode, I’m talking with Karla Lester, M.D., a pediatrician, a certified life and weight coach, Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, and founder of IME Community, the first web-based life and weight coachingplatform for teens. We talk about pandemic weight gain, the increasing rates of childhood obesity and other chronic conditions, weight stigma and kids’ mental health, summer weight gain and parent shaming. We also offer easy, actionable tips for parents who are concerned about their kids’ weight to get them on a healthier path. 
Be sure to sign up for the free video course, Turn Your Picky Eaters Into Little Foodies: https://www.julierevelant.com/free-video-email-course/.

4:07 What’s your background and how did you become involved in addressing childhood obesity?
20:50 What are your concerns about childhood obesity rates and  “the other COVID-19?”
25:00 Are pediatricians seeing kids who were previously healthy but now overweight?
28:35 The Hispanic/Latino, Black populations, and underserved communities have been affected even more. Why and what needs to happen to help these populations? 
32:07 What are the most significant drivers of increased childhood obesity during the pandemic?
34:13 What does being in school have to do with childhood obesity?
36:42 As we head into summer, do you think childhood obesity rates will increase?
37:51 What about more insidious reasons like dads cooking more, grandma giving kids treats, and kids making their own meals when parents are working?
44:52 Are diet, not sedentary behaviors, the cause of childhood obesity?
49:16 What are the short-term effects and long-term effects of weight gain? 
55:40 Should parents be concerned if their kids gained weight during the pandemic?
57:36 In what ways can parents make it worse for their kids by inadvertently shaming them? 
1:01:48 In December, the AAP released two clinical guidance documents. What should parents know?  
1:07:22 Can you talk about survey data that found the number one barrier that physicians face when it comes to combatting childhood obesity is parent apathy. 
1:11:20 What is the government doing to combat childhood obesity and food insecurity? 
1:15:20 What are ways we can help the most vulnerable and those dealing with food insecurity?
1:17:23 Would you say that parents know what they need to do, but there’s a disconnect or challenges that make it tough to follow through with new habits?
1:21:54 What changes should parents start to make to get their kids on a healthier track?


Dr. Lester is the founder of IME Community 
IME Community podcast
IME Community’s YouTube channel
Dr. Lester’s podcast interview with The Podcast by KevinMD, “ Weight Stigma in Children and Teens.”


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Author Details
Julie Revelant teaches parents how to raise children who are healthy, adventurous eaters. Through blog posts and videos, her goal is to shift the conversation from short-term, problem picky eating to lifelong, healthy eating and healthy futures. Julie has written for FoxNews.com, FIRST for Women magazine, WhatToExpect.com, EverydayHealth.com, RD.com, TheBump.com, Care.com, and Babble.com.