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We all know that childhood obesity has been a complex problem in the U.S. for years and solving for it hasn’t been easy. We’ve looked to policymakers, pediatricians, parents, and new programs, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the issue. Although we’ve seen a lot of progress, more needs to be done because the latest research shows childhood obesity rates are on the rise.

In this episode, I sat down with Karla Lester, M.D. a pediatrician, a certified life and weight coach, a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, and founder of IME Community, the first web-based life and weight coaching platform for teens.

Dr. Lester talks about what the latest research shows about childhood obesity, why BMI isn’t always the best indicator of weight, and what you can do at home to raise healthy kids. She also talks about how to avoid passing on your own fears about weight to your kid, and she shares her ideas about the so-called “almond mom,” a story that recently went viral.


2:50  Let’s talk about your story!

5:04 What does the latest research show about childhood obesity?

6:30 Why are rates on the rise?

10:59 What are the risk factors for childhood obesity?

13:20 What are the health risks of childhood obesity?

14:34 Are there other, non-food related risk factors such as trauma and social determinants of health?

15:46 Do you think inflation will have an effect on childhood obesity?

18:54 Why do you think as a nation we’ve been unsuccessful in addressing childhood obesity?

21:03 Why should we not be focused solely on BMI?

23:13 If you think your kid has a weight issue, how do you know and what should you do?

26:38 What do you think needs to happen as a nation to address childhood obesity?

30:00 What can parents do to prevent childhood obesity or intervene when there’s a weight issue?

34:53 Can you talk about the “almond mom” story?


Dr. Lester mentions this study in the journal Pediatrics which shows childhood obesity is on the rise.

Dr. Lester talks about her article on KevindMD.com., “Health care’s 3 epic childhood obesity failures.”

Dr. Lester mentions “The Obesity Code,” by Jason Fung, M.D.

Read Dr. Lester’s Today.com interview about the “almond mom.”

Learn more about Dr. Lester on her website IMECommunity.com.

Follow Dr. Lester on Instagram and TikTok.


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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.