Dr. Pretlow’s Newest Publication

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Yesterday, Childhood Obesity News mentioned the previous posts that have dealt with the role of pets in combatting overweight and obesity in kids. Today, we start by looking back over the posts about the serious and widespread problem of obese pets. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that in America, 54% of dogs and 58% of cats are overweight.

The organization arrived at those numbers by polling its membership, made up of veterinarians and veterinary healthcare personnel. Lead researcher Dr. Ernest Ward had already broken the news that obesity is the biggest health threat to pets today. The situation was known to be bad; the only question was, how bad?

APOP cites the fact that the American Medical Association defines human obesity as a disease, and recommends that the veterinary industry adopt a standardized Body Condition Score. The page says:

The lack of professional consensus in defining pet obesity has created confusion among industry leaders. This confusion can lead to underreporting and a decreased emphasis on the pet obesity issue by the veterinary industry and clients. A uniform definition of pet obesity would benefit veterinarians who are struggling to find a tactful and effective way to discuss obesity and the importance of weight loss.

National Pet Obesity Awareness Day is coming up in October, but around here, the feeling is that every day should be vibrant with awareness and prevention intention. “Year-Round Pet Obesity Awareness” is a pretty good general introduction. “Pet Obesity and Childhood Obesity” compares the two in pretty direct terms, as does a related post.

One of Dr. Pretlow’s motivating principles is that ideally, treating obesity in animals is nearly the same as treating it in children. This notion developed into a paper co-written with Dr. Ronald J. Corbee, member of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University. Titled “Similarities between obesity in pets and children: the addiction model,” it puts forth the idea that new treatments are needed for this major problem, because the currently favored interventions are not getting the job done. The article can be found in the British Journal of Nutrition, or online.

For the rest of the week, we will discuss how child-parents and pet-parents often enable eating addiction, and the reasons that prompt them to act in such a counterproductive way. We will look at how collaboration between the fields of pet obesity and child obesity can be mutually beneficial, and outline a treatment borrowed from addiction medicine that can bring about positive change .

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “An Estimated 58% of Cats and 54% of Dogs in the United States are Overweight or Obese,” PetObesityPrevention.org, 03/15/16
Source: “Similarities between obesity in pets and children: the addiction model,” cambridge.org, 06/17/16
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Childhood Obesity News | OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say | Dr. Robert A. Pretlow
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