Obesity Tales, Part 2

Oh, hi chubby boy

Connie Bennett quit sugar more than 10 years ago, and wrote about it in her book, Sugar Shock! This all-pervasive substance can be a problem not only for the obese, but for just about anybody. Bennett says,

The theory of sugar addiction or dependency — which has been suggested recently by such esteemed scientists as Dr. Bartley Hoebel of Princeton University — is a compelling, albeit controversial one.

Bennett likes to shine an admiring spotlight on others who have become former sugar addicts, as she did in an opinion piece for AOL News that applauded comedians Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Garlin. Bennett recommends the “No More Sugar Monologue” by DeGeneres as “hilarious.” It is.

Jeff Garlin, known also for his TV series “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” talks about being a former sugar addict in his book, My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World. He found ditching sugar to be as arduous as kicking a heroin habit or going into AA. He has made numerous public appearances, like the one recorded in this video clip, to spread the word about sugar and how to escape from food addiction.

Personal stories are very powerful. We need to pay more attention to the people who have overcome childhood obesity, and even years of adult obesity, and found a healthy, sustainable weight. Like Michael Prager, who wrote Fat Boy Thin Man. Or Frank Bruni, who wrote Born Round about his struggles with obesity. Those personal accounts can tell you things a graph or statistic never can.

One of the worst things about the scientific establishment is its scorn for “anecdotal evidence.” Anecdotal evidence is just the experience of a person, and, really, once you drill down to the basics, when it comes to human beings, there isn’t anything but anecdotal evidence. Say, you want to find out, very objectively, the relation between chocolate-covered bacon and high blood pressure. You compare the results to a group with a different variable, or a control group. You want to be very objective, and you work with charts and numbers and averages, and all that good stuff.

Still, each one of those numbers or percentage points is a compilation of a whole lot individual experiences. A person and another person — a lot of people — each one a walking, talking anecdote. You can’t get away from it. That’s what is so cool about Weigh2Rock and the platform it gives overweight and obese kids who need to express themselves (and stay anonymous if they choose to).

For instance, a 12-year-old named Ariyanna wrote,

I hate being overweight. It feels like someone is always making fun of me or mocking me or calling me names! I always hear the comments! I laugh along but on the inside I’m dying!

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation “Why Are Children Overweight?” quotes a teenager, who says,

I hate lookin in the mirror it’s the saddest part of each of my days…

It’s a shame that such words should be heard from a 19-year-old. What kind of a mess is that? Nineteen is the magic year for a young woman. What has gone wrong that so many young women are overweight? And others fall victim to eating disorders that stem from a fear of obesity so extreme that their disease leads them to starve themselves.

Kids like these are what our Childhood Obesity News efforts are all about: getting the word out. Thanks to technology, kids have a much greater voice than ever before, and now all they need is for grownups to listen to them.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Opinion: Sugarholics Could Help Others Kick the Habit,” AOL News, 03/02/10
Source: “HLN: Jeff Garlin: I’m a food addict,” YouTube.com
Source: “Why Are Children Overweight?,” Weigh2Rock.com
Image by sultmhoor, used under its Creative Commons license.

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Childhood Obesity News | OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say | Dr. Robert A. Pretlow
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