L.E.A.N. Start program coming to Upson County

September 6, 2013

Renowned pediatrician Dr. William Sears’ prestigious L.E.A.N. Start Program is being held in Upson County for the first time at Extreme Gymnastics.


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 nutrition related behaviors or childhood obesity 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 1and 19, the rate of obesity has doubled since the 1970s. For children between the ages of 6 and 11, the rate has tripled. Almost one third of all children today overweight or obese.

The L.E.A.N. Start Program was developed by Dr. 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 and hastrained more than 1,000 instructors. Dr. Sears created it 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 wesee 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.”

Mandi Hadley of Extreme Gymnastics said, “We are excited to partner with Carla Clayton, Certified L.E.A.N. Health Coach, to provide this workshop for our community so we can help the children of Upson County become healthier.”

For more information, contact Carla Clayton at 770-468-8172 or visit her website at