Do you have children who are high on the BMI scale? Is the BMI scale an accurate medical assessment? Why is the medical field more weight-obsessed than health-obsessed? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini has an open discussion with an anonymous guest about treating "obesity" in children.


  • The ill-considered side effects
  • Weight-focused instead of health-focused
  • It’s not about willpower

The ill-considered side effects

I think that’s what the Academy of Pediatrics is not thinking about, the messaging that all of this [and it is going to impact] these kids and that these [messages] could all lead to eating disorders. (Dr. Castagnini)
When the focus is more on the “potential” illnesses that the kids could have from increased weight, there is less attention put on what they actually need at that moment. To simply isolate someone’s weight as a unique phenomenon while not considering their emotional well-being, financial status, parental or guardian well-being, and access to healthcare can cause more harm than good in the long run.
Are [these doctors] really thinking about the words, the messages, the psychological [and] the emotional impact on [the kids’] self-esteem and … their relationship with food, their bodies, and the long-term effects. (Dr. Castagnini)

Weight-focused instead of health-focused

I can’t imagine going to the doctor now and being told, “Your 12 year old’s BMI is a little bit too high and she needs to go on a weight-loss drug, or she’s “obese” and she needs to go on a weight-loss drug. I just can’t see that as a solution and it bothers me that we think that’s a solution. (Anonymous)
Many doctors and fields in the medical industry are often weight-focused instead of health-focused. People almost always equate weight with health, but it is often not a true or correct comparison. A person can be smaller and have serious health issues while a person who is bigger can be healthy. There are extremes on either end, as with everything, but that generalization of weight-to-health is untrue and a dangerous assumption.

It’s not about willpower

Weight loss and weight gain is not always “just” a matter of willpower. There are so many factors in play when it comes to food and bodily health like emotional well-being and regulation, access to medical care, financial status, and stress management. To isolate weight purely as weight is dangerous because it disregards all the other factors that can have powerful influences on a person’s choices and overall health as well.



  I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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