Reviews, Presentations, & Publications

Slide 35, London

How gracious of Zoë Harcombe to send flattering words out into the world, in her review of Overweight: What Kids Say! For any author, the good opinion of a respected peer is a substantial reward. When that reviewer puts as much attention into the matter as this one did, it’s even more gratifying. And, by the way, in the spirit of full disclosure: We like Zoë Harcombe, and we don’t care who knows it. In fact, we have spoken before of her ideas about how to claim and maintain the splendid health that nature intended for us to have. She has confronted obesity, and has overcome it. Harcombe takes the stand that there is such a thing as food addiction. She says,

People cannot be addicts in moderation. We should no more advise food addicts to eat sugary processed food in moderation than we should tell alcoholics to drink in moderation. We need to start treating food addiction for what it is — a serious addiction with serious consequences.

Right on! And furthermore, “eat less” is bad advice, because what we need to do is eat better. Harcombe says the messages in Overweight: What Kids Say! will make you laugh and cry. She notes,

More will make you cry and they should all make us, as adults, feel guilty. We have failed these children. We have put profits of the food industry ahead of the health of our next generation… Weight, fat, size and diets are totally dominating and ruining the lives of these young people.

In response to Dr. Pretlow’s book, Harcombe sent along her tips for kids and teens:

1) Eat real food; don’t eat processed food (oranges grow on trees; cartons of orange juice don’t. Fish swim in the sea; fish fingers don’t. Cows graze in the field; Pepperami sticks don’t etc).
2) Eat 3 good meals a day — stop snacking or you never get the chance to burn fat.
3) Manage even ‘good carbs’ if you need to lose weight — base your meals on non-processed meat/fish/eggs/veg (not spuds)/salad and limit fruit/whole grains/nuts & seeds if you want to lose weight.

There is a very useful and timely website called Healthcare Administration blog which, in the solid old tradition, publishes “Best Of” lists. This particular one is called “50 Best Healthcare Blogs You Aren’t Reading Yet,” and in the category of blogs started in 2010, Childhood Obesity News is honored to appear. The graphic at the top of this page, by the way, is Slide 35 from Dr. Pretlow’s presentation, “Why Are Children Overweight?

Not long ago, we introduced our readers to Jelly and the Donuts, by Elyse Schneiderman, another author interested in waking people up to the hazards of childhood obesity. Shortly afterward, Schneiderman had an occasion to write a letter to the editors of the Los Angeles Times, and it contained a nod to Dr. Pretlow’s work, calling Childhood Obesity News one of the best resources, and saying,

I feel very strongly that obese children become obese adults with physical and psychological problems. Please look on the website… and you will realize how painful obesity is for overweight children.

Joshua Sharfstein, who is principal deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, asked pediatricians to name their areas of concern. In other words, what do doctors, who actually work with children, want to see the FDA do something about? When Sharfstein reported on his quest in the pages of the American Academy of Pediatrics newletter, Dr. Pretlow was pleased to note that one of the items is the very one he has named:

Obesity: Concern regarding childhood addiction to pleasurable foods.

Dr. Pretlow learned that his paper, “Addiction To Highly Pleasurable Foods As A Cause Of The Childhood Obesity Epidemic,” has been accepted for publication by Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. The publication’s editors require that articles be practical, interesting, and relevant to clinicians. They like research papers to be “exceptional and far-reaching.” One of the reviewers regretted that the kids’ messages on Weigh2Rock are anonymous and self-reported, which is not what scientists like. But the paper’s originality overcame that objection. The other reviewer said,

The paper is well-written, very interesting to read, and the author makes his points succinctly and illustrates them with poignant examples taken verbatim from the children’s posts and transcripts… The author comments that there is little clinical evidence for food addiction but he hopes that his paper will encourage research in this important area, since the clinical implications are significant.

The piece will be published in the spring or summer of 2011 and should firmly plant the notion of food addiction in the medical arena.

And… whatever you do, don’t miss Dr. Pretlow’s guest post at Fooducate. Titled “Food Supplements and Childhood Obesity,” it’s jam-packed with attitude.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Overweight — What kids say — by Robert Pretlow,”, 01/14/11
Source: “50 Best Healthcare Blogs You Aren’t Reading Yet,” Healthcare Administration, 01/10/11
Image courtesy Robert Pretlow, M.D., used with permission.

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