The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

700 Club interview

Dr. Jim Sears: Healthy Families

By Mia Evans-Saracual
The 700 Club - These Emmy-winning talk show hosts not only play doctors on TV, they’re the real thing! The Doctors dispense helpful medical advice to millions of viewers every day.  Doctor Jim Sears is the resident pediatrician, who has a big heart for little people.  

Mia: You come from a family of pediatricians. What led you to follow in your dad’s footsteps?

Dr. Jim: Wow, you know, I’m the oldest of eight kids. So I had a lot of kids running around when I was younger. My dad made pediatrics look fun. He sat me down when I was older, though, and said, you know, I don’t want to pressure you. Don’t want you to feel pressure going into medicine, but I just want you to know that you’re free to be any kind of baby doctor you want to be.

Today, Dr. Jim shares a pediatric practice with his father and his brother in southern California. From the basics of eating and sleeping to vaccine safety, Dr. Jim offers some tips to help little patients, and their parents build healthier lives.

Mia: What can parents do to help their kids stay healthy and avoid obesity? It’s such a problem these days.

Dr. Jim: Childhood obesity is a huge epidemic. And it’s sad because I see it in my office every day. It’s the parents and the kids and, I think one of the biggest things parents can do is start early when the kids are first starting to eat foods. just introduce them to healthy foods. Foods that you grow, you know, fruits and vegetables, lean meats, things like that. It’s just a great way to build the tastes and the cravings of the kids if you give them good stuff.

Mia: So for parents who already have picky eaters, what’s a good way to help them eat their fruits and veggies?

Dr. Jim: Wow, if they’re picky eaters already, it’s tougher. First, the kids need to see the parents doing it. You got to be a good example. So if you’re eating carrots and beans and broccoli and all the good stuff, berries, strawberries, blueberries, your kids are going to more likely do it. You can hide it. One of my favorite things is a smoothie, you know. It looks and tastes like a milkshake, but there’s other stuff in there they don’t know about, you know. Uh, blueberries and strawberries, you can put pretty much anything in a smoothie and your child will usually drink it.

Mia: There’s been heavy debate over the safety of vaccines. What’s your take on that, vaccines in children?

Dr. Jim: Vaccines are a hugely controversial topic. There’s a lot that we do know and there’s a lot that we don’t know. What we do know is over the years vaccines have done a lot of good. I think there’s been a lot of overreaction. So one of my goals as a pediatrician is to educate the parents, okay, and kind of see what their fears are, you know, what are you exactly are you afraid of, is it a reaction to this vaccine, that vaccine. Has anything ever happened to your other children, kind of really look at the individual and then come up with a plan, you know, if this parent is going to be resistant to the full vaccine schedule, I say well, okay, I don’t want you to do none, because that’s not good, so let’s figure out which ones you are comfortable with doing. And then we’ll start working on the other ones, you know. But I think it’s important for kids to eventually get all the vaccines out there. Because, you know, I hate to see kids getting sick.

Mia: What’s one of the most common questions moms and dads are asking you on the show these days?

Dr. Jim: Probably the most common question I get is has to do with sleep, you know, whether it’s not sleeping, sleeping too much, can’t get them back to sleep after they wake up. We could do a whole show, almost a whole series on just sleep with kids and teenagers and babies and the whole thing.

Mia: Why is it important for parents to urge their teenagers to take a nap during the day?

Dr. Jim: I have two teenagers myself and they don’t get enough sleep. You know the vast majority of kids, of teenagers in this country aren’t sleeping enough. And it’s important because their brains are still developing. It’s important for their immune system, and their schoolwork and their growth. So being sleep deprived, really it’s more than just being tired. You don’t grow.

The Doctors recently collaborated on a book: The Doctors’ Five-Minute Health Fixes. In it, Dr. Jim shares advice he’s gained through years of practicing medicine, and being a dad. 

Mia: You come across as a really strong family man. What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned as a dad?

Dr. Jim:  Wow. It’s going to make me tear up a little bit but, you know, my daughter’s a senior in high school, she’s graduating, going to go off out of state for college and what I’m most happy about what I did, looking back the last 17 years, I’m glad I didn’t spend more time in the office. I’m glad I took those lunches off, I’m glad I drove them to school. I’m glad I finished my office early so I could pick them up from school. I’m glad I spent more time with them instead of more time in the office.

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