L.E.A.N Start


Dr. William Sears’ Prestigious L.E.A.N. Start Program

 Renowned pediatrician Dr. William Sears’ prestigious L.E.A.N. Start Program is now being taught in Lancaster, SC; Charlotte, NC; and online to distance clients as well!

The program allows parents and caregivers to “experience” nutrition and play, tasting a lot of healthy food and learning interactive games appropriate for children. It also demonstrates simple strategies to implement; including effective methods for prevention and intervention in families where childhood obesity or nutrition related behaviors are a concern.

A rising concern in recent years has been the increase in obesity among children and adolescents. For children between the years of 2 and 5 and adolescents between 12 and 19, the rate of obesity has more than doubled since the 1970s. For children between the ages of 6 and 11, the rate has tripled. Almost one third of all children today are overweight or obese.

The L.E.A.N. Start Program was developed by Dr. William Sears, known as America’s Pediatrician,” and Sean Foy, M.A., a leading exercise physiologist and nutrition expert. While most nutrition education programs target children, the L.E.A.N. Start Program is one of the first to be uniquely designed for parents and caregivers.

“To make a significant change in the health of our children, we must emphasize the role parents play in modeling healthy behavior, and educate parents on the benefits and principles of nutrition because they are responsible for grocery shopping, preparing meals, and shaping children’s tastes,” said Dr. Sears, who also is author of The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood. “There are a number of programs out there but they fail to impact the behavior of the parents. We’ve determined that in order to achieve real success, the education of parents is critical.”

The L.E.A.N. Start Program was first launched in Orange County, Calif. in 2007. Dr. Sears created the program in conjunction with Sean Foy after several years of trials and development in response to growing concerns over childhood obesity, nutrition deficit disorder and reported ineffectiveness of government-funded, child directed programs.

“Obesity isn’t the only problem our kids are facing, so we’ve designed a program that tackles a number of nutrition-related illnesses and issues,” said Foy. “The parents we see in our programs are motivated by wanting their children to be healthy, and ultimately we are seeing significant improvement in both the parents and children. Parents who completed the course had an average confidence level of 4.43 out of 5 for continuing the healthy behaviors.”

After evaluating pre and post-assessment clinical data dating from the program’s launch to July 2008, results showed that after completing the program, the number of participants who usually or always read nutritional labels before buying food increased 52 percent, while participants who considered nutrition when deciding which types of food to serve young children rose 19 percent to 77 percent. Additionally, the percentage of children of participating parents who ate three or more servings of fruits and vegetables increased 19 percent and 23 percent respectively.

Parents and caregivers who participated in the workshop also reported a substantial decrease in television and computer usage among young children and an increase in physical activity. Television and computer usage decreased by 28 and 37 percent respectively. The results are based on responses from 600 participants. Clinical data is still being collected, and research is ongoing.

For more information, or to register for the L.E.A.N. Start Program, please contact Amber!


About Dr. William Sears:

 William Sears, M.D. practices pediatrics in partnership with his three pediatrician sons in San Clemente, Calif. Dr. Sears received his pediatric training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and is an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. He is the author of more than 35 books on childcare and nutrition, and he has shared his expertise in more than 100 television programs including: Dr. Phil, The

Doctors, Oprah, Dateline, 20/20 and Good Morning America where he is often referred to as “America’s Pediatrician.”


For more information or to sign up for L.E.A.N Start (online or at an in-person class in Lancaster, SC, Charlotte, NC or the surrounding area) please fill out the form below!