Manage Holiday Stress and Eat Less!

The Mayo Clinic, one of the most venerable institutions in America, has published a comprehensive list of ways to deal with holiday-related stress, which are summarized here. Whether a person’s area of difficulty lies in over-drinking, excessive food consumption, body-focused repetitive behaviors, inappropriate anger, or any number of other unhealthy manifestations, stress management is of paramount importance. And sure, we have all heard many of these familiar hints before, but a refresher course can’t hurt.

Trying times

This year we carry an extra load of stress due to the coronavirus pandemic. A lot of people have been sick themselves, and many have tragically lost family members and friends to the disease. Childhood Obesity News has mentioned the numerous ways in which obesity and COVID aid and abet each other, and bereavement is an experience that many people respond to by accumulating kummerspeck, or “grief bacon.”

At the same time, some people are so economically challenged they can barely subsist, and others are restricted from traveling or spending in the accustomed holiday spirit. Add to this the unavoidable fact that a tremendous number of people find the holidays painful and depressing even in the most prosperous times, because of unprocessed emotional trauma from the past.

What does the Mayo Clinic staff recommend? A good first step is to honestly acknowledge our feelings. If we belong to any support groups, now is a good time to check in with them. Online resources can be amazing for this.

Adaptation as a survival trait

We might have to do things differently. Sometimes it just can’t be helped, so might as well face it with an attitude of acceptance. If we can’t get together with loved ones in person, we might have to learn how to use a new computer application.

Remember that people themselves are one of the circumstances we are called upon to adapt to. Frazzled and frustrated as we may feel, it’s possible that a relative or friend is dealing with even more disagreeable emotions, and we need to cut them some slack.

An important adaptation is the realization that we can’t say yes to everything. This is true in any year, but especially now when the pandemic is still a very real presence. Loved ones and true friends should understand if a person is reluctant to travel, or even to play host to visitors. COVID-19 has a lot of tricks up its sleeve, and no one should be shamed for making their own health a priority.

Whatever events are on the agenda, try to plan rationally and make allowance for obstacles. Make lists. For some reason, writing out a to-do list by hand seems to make more of an impression on the brain, than doing it electronically.

Like a lot of other timelessly true precepts, this next tip is corny as heck:

Volunteering your time or doing something to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships. For example, consider dropping off a meal and dessert at a friend’s home during the holidays.

That particular tip has the added advantage of moving some tempting food out of your reach!

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping,”, undated
Image by Oliver Henze/CC BY-ND 2.0

Coronavirus Chronicles — Behavior and Consequences

How do we know about the experiences of boots-on-the-ground medical personnel? Through social media, we hear from doctors, nurses, and others in the healing profession, as well as medical-adjacent workers like receptionists, and the picture is not pretty.

Even civilians remark on the circumstances they find, like the Twitter user who, at a time when the state of Florida had 25,000 new COVID-19 cases, went to a grocery store in Vero Beach and was the only masked person in the whole place. A Texan user of social media remarked that although LBJ hospital had set up big tents to house COVID patients who would not fit in the building, the institution lacked enough staff to make the extra space usable.

A staff member in a Hawaii hospital wrote that the state was almost out of oxygen, and that any patient needing an ICU bed would face a five-hour flight to the nearest available one. A Nebraska doctor called 23 hospitals in search of a COVID ICU bed. In August, Dr. Ashish K. Jha summed it up:

As hospitals fill, quality of care suffers. From overworked staff, low supplies, leading to rising mortality for those with COVID, and those who need non-COVID hospital care.

At one point, Dr. Sam Ghali wrote, “We are officially back to getting crushed by COVID-19.” Ambulances encircle hospitals, waiting for someone to be discharged (or die) and free up one bed. A mid-October situation in the U.K. was described in The Guardian:

Paramedics across Britain have reported queues of up to 20 ambulances waiting outside hospitals to transfer patients into emergency departments operating at full capacity… A patient died last Monday after suffering a suspected heart attack in the back of an ambulance which had been queueing for more than two hours.

The Guardian‘s article writer, Jon Ungoed-Thomas, noted that six-hour waits are not unusual, and mentioned an extreme case in the West Midlands where the handover delay was 11 hours, 46 minutes.

Burnout is at conflagration level

When intensive care units are full of virus patients, it means that someone who falls from a roof or severs an artery has nowhere to go. A potentially fixable ailment, like brain aneurism, becomes fatal with delay.

Via Twitter, various doctors pitched in to explain the intricacies of the sorting, priority-deciding process known as triage. Say, a person has a fast-spreading pancreatic cancer that needs surgical removal. It will not kill him today, so it is not technically an emergency. However, waiting a few days can allow enough tumor growth to take away his last chance. Unfortunately, the ICU bed he needs is occupied by a COVID patient with respiratory collapse. The COVID patient may or may not survive; the cancer patient is now definitely doomed.

A registered nurse who works in an emergency room spoke of arriving for the night shift to the sound of 17 different bereaved families crying because someone had died of an allegedly fake disease. Another mentions riding in elevators with deceased patients who are being transported to the morgue trucks behind the hospital. In mid-August, a Nashville health worker wrote that the hospital was out of vapotherms, out of oxygen regulators, out of nurses, and in trouble.

Another nurse described work as an endless round of being scared, before every shift, of what level of hell they would be walking into this time. Another says nurses are leaving “in droves.” An ICU nurse reports that “everyone is quitting.” And without enough nurses, it does not matter how many beds or how much hardware a hospital may have.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, Twitter
Source: Sam Ghali, M.D.,
Source: “A&E crisis leaves patients waiting in ambulances outside hospitals for 11 hours,”, 10/16/21
Image by Marco Verch Professional/CC BY 2.0

Coronavirus Chronicles — Let’s End This!

Why so much emphasis on the pandemic here? Because, as mentioned many times, the virus in certain demographics seems to favor overweight victims; and if its victims are not overweight already, the virus is capable of putting such a cramp in their lifestyle, they are unable to do helpful things like exercise, or care about what they put in their mouths, and thus become more likely to grow obese. By making us be very cautious about travel and exposure, the virus interferes with scientific studies of obesity, and with people’s ability to access programs that might help reduce the total amount of obesity.

The pandemic keeps kids immobile in front of screens, instead of out running around, participating in sports or just movement in general. At its most savage, it kills the adults who are raising the kids, making them easy prey. Children whose lives are turned upside down by the death (or even the serious illness) of parents and other caregivers are susceptible to depression and other mental and emotional states that open the door to stress eating, comfort eating, and every other kind of disordered eating pattern.

In general, we simply do not want any more people to catch COVID-19, especially kids, and especially their parents, and especially the medical personnel we count on to help us survive! Most recently, we referenced a doctor who struggled with ambivalent feelings about patients who are not vaccinated, and who then expect a million dollars worth of state-of-the-art treatment to be delivered with care and compassion. When doctors are tempted to violate the Hippocratic Oath and recommend that hospitals turn away vaccine refusers, the situation is serious indeed.

Enough is enough

Doctors, nurses, therapists, technicians, and everybody else on the hospital staff is disgusted with having to put up with not only overwork and constant anxiety about coming down with the plague, but with the willful ignorance that causes packed emergency rooms and an overflow of sick people waiting in chairs out in the driveway. We know this because they vent their feelings via social media. Example: in July, from Colorado, Dr. Debby Burnett (@BurnettForCo3 on Twitter) wrote, “The entire COVID floor and the ICU are at capacity with COVID patients — almost all unvaccinated.”

Doctors and administrators are horrified by having to make decisions about patients with other serious problems. Because of overcrowding and insufficient staff, people who could have been easily fixed have to wait for days until their conditions attain life-or-death urgency. Let’s talk about this more next time, and wrap up here with a quotation from Dr. Peter J. Hotez:

But in this latest phase, it’s not only an influx of patients but also the accumulating losses of trained health professionals that is so worrisome. Burnout has been a problem throughout the pandemic. Yet overwhelmed nurses and other hospital staff are leaving the profession and their posts due to a combination of factors that include exhaustion and the demoralization of taking care of so many dying young and middle-aged patients who refused vaccines. As The New York Times reported this past week, there were some 2,000 fewer nurses working in the state of Mississippi — currently deep in the throes of a COVID-19 explosion — than there were as recently as Jan. 1 of this year.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “The Latest COVID-19 Surge Is Just the Start of a New Nightmare,”, 09/07/21
Image by Jernej Furman/CC BY 2.0

Coronavirus Chronicles — Using the Platform

Previous posts have examined the idea that the social media universe is more than just a hangout for fringe people with perhaps too-strong opinions. Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, professionals in many fields have recognized the value of an online presence. With the chances for live interactions severely limited, experts and practitioners make the most of an opportunity to get into people’s heads — in the best possible sense, of course.

Medical professionals are not going to so many conferences or pharmaceutically-funded vacations, these days. They may have reorganized their office practice to emphasize telemedicine, or limited personal contact in other ways for the safety of patients, staff, and themselves. Medical professionals are a resource of the utmost importance. They need to take care of themselves, and the public needs to take care of them too.

This is one of the points touched on by doctors, nurses, therapists, and many others in the healing professions who correspond online. They can share their experiences and insights with each other and the public. Some of those experiences are harrowing. Here are excerpts from a Twitter thread belonging to JAFERD MD:

I’m an ER doctor… I can’t get most patients to keep a mask on when I’m out of the room, or wear it properly when I’m in. I now have Covid. Mild for now. I am very optimistic that I will stay well, thanks to the vaccine.

Could I get really really sick? Sure. Could I even die? Yep. But I’ve done the right thing to minimize those chances.

Another medic responded that although he and his immune-compromised wife had both been vaccinated and took all kinds of precautions, they both caught the virus, and his wife died. This life-saving frontline worker was haunted by the thought that he might have brought the disease home from his Emergency Room job.

In mid-August, pediatrician @DMcSwainMD expressed deep discouragement not only because a surge of pediatric hospitalizations and deaths was on the horizon, “but because my colleagues have been attacked and spat on for trying to prevent it.” A paramedic reported colleagues being spat upon in ambulances by COVID-19 patients on the way to the hospital.

In India, numerous doctors, and indeed even workers suspected of being doctors, have been physically assaulted when patients died of the virus. The attackers are the patients’ attenders, usually family members. In the U.S., at least so far, the damage has been mainly mental and emotional. A medical professional  Victor Ruiz wrote on Twitter,

I stood by his bedside as the family said goodbye over the IPAD… I listened to their goodbyes. I pushed out of my mind the realization this human being that was so loved and cherished wasn’t vaccinated. In this moment it was just compassion. I held his hand as they spoke so he would think they were in the room… Then I took him off the ventilator.

This is what happens when all hope is gone, a scenario that occurs all too often. The writer found himself being angry not about the vaccination refusal, but about the fact that he had taken so many patients off ventilators that he could not even remember all their names anymore.

Through social media, some Americans claim their right to freedom, while others remind them of how limited freedom is when a person is strapped to a bed with a tube down their throat, in a medically induced coma. And where else do you get to hear remarks like this one from a pseudonymous therapist? “A former client who has been injecting street drugs for years, told me she would never trust this vaccine. She added COVID is a little worse than the flu.”

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: @JAFERD MD, Twitter, 09/13/21
Source: @Victor Ruiz, Twitter, 10/20/21
Image by Jernej Furman/CC BY 2.0

Coronavirus Chronicles — More Caring Is Needed

Some very fresh news is that a new COVID variant has shown up in South Africa, and there is little doubt that it will soon be found around the globe, despite whatever measures may be taken to prevent its spread. This is especially ominous in the COVID-weary emotional climate that presently exists. Everybody is just sick of being careful, and several winter holidays make people feel that their personal travel plans are of the utmost urgency. The Guardian reports,

Dr Susan Hopkins said the R value, or effective reproduction number, of the B.1.1.529 variant in Gauteng in South Africa, where it was first found, was now 2. For an R of anything above 1, an epidemic will grow exponentially.

The U.K. Health and Security Agency’s chief medical adviser says this variant is “the most worrying we’ve seen,” an opinion shared by numerous authorities. For a quick refresher on the meaning of “exponential,” we refer once more to the Legend of the Chessboard. So, this is the kind of world we are going to inhabit for a while yet.

Those who care for us

As long as obesity continues to exacerbate COVID, and as long as COVID continues to exacerbate obesity, each condition needs to be curbed not only for its own sake but for the sake of the people who are affected by the mutually assistive nature of the two conditions.

One of the most relevant possible topics is the well-being of healthcare professionals. This concern should also extend to receptionists, cleaning staff, volunteers, and indeed anyone who works with people who either suffer from coronavirus or who are being tested for the disease.

Once again, we turn to the first-person reports made by people in and around the medical field, and the indignant complaints from their spouses and parents, and from the respectful and cautious patients who witness horrible behavior. Social media are replete with sharp comments from those who are disheartened and angered by the lack of consideration shown by some patients and some family members, in healthcare environments.

In an office setting, unmasked visitors will populate the waiting room, and only mask up when their turns come. Worse yet, whether because of purposeful defiance or unfathomable ignorance, they will cover their mouths but leave their noses uncovered. When filling out paperwork, they lie about COVID symptoms. They cough on receptionists. Is it any wonder that normally empathic and helpful office staff become disgusted?

Worse yet, this can go both ways. For instance, an anonymous social media user wrote, “Went for blood work at my doctors office. The medical assistant was not wearing a mask. No signs posted about mask wearing.”

In the hospital

Patients who couldn’t even walk themselves through the hospital door will scream about what a hoax the virus is, right up until the moment when they are intubated and can no longer vocalize their thoughts. Hostile relatives will show up to say goodbye to a dying person, and curse the staff, yelling out sincere wishes that they too will die from COVID.

Nurses, doctors, all kinds of specialists, and even ward clerks go through excruciating routines at home, disinfecting themselves, observing disrobing rituals as elaborate as those of astronauts, or even isolating from their families for weeks at a time. They are fanatically conscientious about not bringing disease either to or from their workplace. Then, at work, they are subject to shabby treatment and indifference to their wellbeing.

Another thing you learn from social media is how, at a company with a vaccine mandate, employees will advise each other on how to obtain exemptions and avoid vaccination. You also find links to stories about, for instance, an actual nurse (in Louisiana) who warned patients that the vaccine “manipulates your DNA at the tiniest molecular level,” who told them not to get vaccinated, and who subsequently died of COVID taking an unknown number of victims along with her. Just imagine, there are adult Americans who believe that anti-COVID vaccines contain all kinds of crazy stuff — despite being reassured that microchips cannot be made from aborted fetuses.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “B.1.1.529 Covid variant ‘most worrying we’ve seen’, says top UK medical adviser,”, 11/26/21
Source: “Legend of the Chessboard,”, undated
Image by Marco Verch/CC BY 2.0

Coronavirus Chronicles — Voices of Authority

A previous post, “Does Anecdotal Mean Untrue?,” discusses whether “anecdotal” accounts, such as those found on social media, should be accepted at face value. One school of thought holds that “anecdotal” is a dirty word. Another suggests that, where personal experience is concerned, there is no other type of research beyond anecdotal. “Does this pill make your headache go away?” is as personal as a question can be. When the pill research team collects many answers to that question, now it’s a study, and they have a statistic. But it still originates in a bunch of anecdotes.

Would people make stuff up?

In a plague that people have very strong feelings about, would they fabricate stories in order to try and convince others to accept vaccination? Maybe. However, an increasing number of social media messages are not from pseudonymous heartbroken people, but from researchers, scholars, nurses, first responders, and their concerned family members. Yes, even doctors who are quite thoroughly identified and credentialed go online via various forums, to help the public understand what is happening.

Through them, anxious news consumers hear about tragic cases like a seven-months pregnant woman who checked into her local hospital for an emergency C-section. The baby survived, but the mother was, at last report, on life support. These medical folks will warn the public not to be complacent in their beliefs about the invulnerability of children, by posting for instance that a three-week-old niece is in the neonatal ICU with COVID-19.

Nurses and doctors speak of patients with holes in the lungs, wasted muscles, and organs failing one after another. A doctor reports that someone in his circle died because her pastor told her she didn’t need to be vaccinated, and her two children are now being raised by friends of the family.

Another doctor remarks that his own mother’s hospital bill, for two weeks on a ventilator, came to over half a million dollars. Someone else in the medical field writes disgustedly that in her mother’s assisted living facility, one nurse refused to wear a mask, and went to a Thanksgiving dinner from which she brought back COVID that killed several of the residents.

Expectant mothers hit hard

What the Delta variant does to unvaccinated pregnant women was described by a doctor as one of the most horrifying disease processes ever. Dying pregnant women are having desperate emergency C-sections in impossibly pre-term time frames. Medical personnel are particularly upset by these cases, because the baby never had a chance. An ICU nurse known as Jessica M, who has almost 78 thousand Twitter followers, wrote last month:

Yesterday my team were successful in saving an expectant mother who coded 3 times. Day shift also saved her a couple of times. Tonight we were unsuccessful in saving her. Our 3rd expecting mother we have lost since August 14th. Sadly, none were far enough along to save babies.

A Tweeter is married to a paramedic who has been working 12-hour shifts in another town for a week, who tells him that half the calls she goes out on are for virus cases, and the victims are a lot younger these days, and also more drastically sick. Infectious disease expert Jessica Malaty Rivera, M.S., writes sternly,

There is NO acceptable number of pediatric deaths from a vaccine preventable illness.

Here is a classic quote from PedsDocMom3000:

Look, Pediatricians are non-alarmist by nature. Half of what we do on a daily basis is reassure parents that their kids are going to be just fine. But we are ~FREAKING OUT~ as pediatric hospitals overflow at a time when kids are returning to school unmasked and unvaccinated.

Rebekah Diamond, M.D., writes, using a strong cuss word,

Getting screamed at that covid isn’t bad for kids after spending the day in the hospital seeing how bad covid in fact is for kids (in so, so many ways) is a real mind****.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: @Jessicam6946 on Twitter, 10/09/21
Source: @jessicamalaty on Twitter, 11/02/21
Source: @rebekah_diamond on Twitter, 10/19/21
Source: @PedsDocMom3000 on Twitter, 08/20/21
Image by Bonbon/CC BY 2.0

Giving Thanks

The wonderful, dangerous winter holidays are here, and even in multicultural America they all share similar traits; in fact, one overwhelmingly paramount common trait. People celebrate by eating and drinking to excess. They put on pounds of weight and set themselves up for disappointment, if not actual disgust.

But there will be no scolding here today. Instead, a partial list of Childhood Obesity News holiday posts from the past, with brief excerpts.

All Hail the Lord of Misrule
From now until after New Year, it’s fully authorized and officially sanctioned binge time, and rather than one Lord of Misrule, we have thousands.

Holidays and Childhood Obesity
This week, Americans are squeezed between two holidays typically observed by indulging in excess. No doubt, many people already look forward to January 1, when the new personal regime of health will begin. But first, there is still a whole lot of eating and drinking to get through.

Holiday Eating Trauma — A Field Ripe for Harvest
The association of celebration with feasting is one of humankind’s oldest social phenomena. This truth brings spectacular joy and also quite a lot of anguish.

Put the Thanks Back into Thanksgiving
A few days from now, many Americans will face an annual celebratory gathering of family and/or friends that should be pure pleasure. Instead, Thanksgiving too often provides traumatic difficulties for anyone who wants to exercise sovereignty over substance intake. The issues around food can be enormous.

The Day After Thanksgiving
The day that follows a big holiday blowout is perfect for good intentions, and most of us formulate resolutions with ease. We decide to take the high road, to do everything right from here on out. But how? The advice for the day after Thanksgiving is the same as for any other day of the year.

Clean Up After Thanksgiving
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and keep this post in mind when dinner is over, and the next day. At this traditional American celebration, people tend to eat too much and eat the wrong things. It all contributes to both adult obesity and childhood obesity.

Too Much of a Good Thing: Christmas Overeating
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and several other holidays all have common characteristics. Free food is everywhere, and who can resist it? A candy cane here, a few cookies there, and pretty soon you’re looking at real calories. Some people are emotionally blackmailed into eating too much, while others eat too much without any kind of bullying.

Fitting Into the Winter Food Festivals
Thanks to his Psychology Today column “Obesely Speaking,” Dr. Billi Gordon was named one of the “30 Most Influential Neuroscientists Alive Today” by a website that specializes in helping people find the best way to get a psychology degree online.

Obesity, the Holidays, and Fitting In
At Kansas State University, journalist Darrah Tinkler interviewed an associate professor of psychological sciences Don Saucier about how eating can provide social validation, which means monkey-see/monkey-do behavior that allows a person to fit in and gain approval. Mammals developed group cohesiveness as a survival mechanism, and social attachments are even more vital for modern humans.

The Symbolic Eating Peril
A great deal of our behavior and interactions are symbolic during the holidays. We eat comfort foods for nostalgia because they have personal meaning.

Another Compendium of Holiday Posts
We continue our discussion of the roundup of our holiday posts and how the holiday season can affect the issues related to obesity.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Image by floodllama/CC BY 2.0

Coronavirus Chronicles — Just a Few More Ethnic Implications

A previous post mentioned “When Pandemics Collide: The Impact of COVID-19 on Childhood Obesity.” These authors are among many who make the same point: obesity promotes COVID, and COVID promotes obesity. They mention the disturbing fact that living in pandemic circumstances has led to an increase in domestic violence, including child abuse. Children with obesity or another pre-existing condition are particularly apt to contract COVID-19, and more likely to experience a serious case.

They mention the studies attributing obesity risk to toxic stress exposure suffered in childhood. They also say,

COVID-19 stressors disproportionally affect vulnerable populations already experiencing toxic stress from poverty, racism and structural inequality… Lack of, or decreased access, to treatments for chronic physical and/or mental illness conditions can exacerbate negative outcomes… Out of school time has been associated with weight gain especially for Hispanics, African Americans, and children with overweight…

Another voice, that of Laura Washington from Chicago Sun-Times, speaks of not only the virus, but of “another plague that affects us most — our everlasting battle with obesity.” She admits to having hoped the pandemic would lead people to the awareness that, to put it in stark terms, “the fat is killing us.” She mentions the high percentages of obesity among the Black and Hispanic communities and quotes journalist Brett Chase:

Having obesity increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Having obesity may triple the risk of hospitalization due to a COVID-19 infection.

For kids, as Pam Belluck of reported, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children is an additional threat, especially for young Black and Latino people, who together account for close to 70% of MIS-C cases. Then, there are all the specific details, both medical and societal, that complicate the picture. For instance, consider the pulse oximeter, which clips onto the patient’s finger to measure blood oxygen levels. In the COVID ward, that is a pretty important detail. In February, the Food and Drug Administration announced that the device “may be less accurate in people with dark skin pigmentation.”

In “Let’s talk about racism and health,” Margaret Flowers revisited a topic that Childhood Obesity News has discussed. Doctors and their attendant personnel are often not at their best when dealing with obese patients. Now, add race to that equation, and there is a situation. She writes,

One study found that when physicians were given the same description of patients that only varied by race, they made different diagnoses. Doctors were more likely to view black patients as ‘violent, suspicious or dangerous.’ Another study documented that racial bias leads to less treatment of pain for black versus white patients.

Another complication in the Black community is the (in some cases well-deserved) mistrust of certain medical recommendations. Although mostly for different reasons, a large number of white people strenuously also object to being vaccinated against COVID.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “When Pandemics Collide: The Impact of COVID-19 on Childhood Obesity,”, 01/01/21
Source: “Pandemic makes obvious another great health threat to African Americans: obesity,”, 02/28/21
Source: “COVID-Linked Syndrome in Children Is Growing and Cases Are More Severe,”, 02/17/21
Source: “FDA Warns That Pulse Oximeters Are Less Accurate on Darker Skin,”, 02/22/21
Source: “Let’s talk about racism and health,”, 09/26/20
Image by Mike Finn/CC BY 2.0

Coronavirus Chronicles — More Ethnic Implications

Quick recap: Obesity and coronavirus are mutually beneficial. They create and select victims for each other. In the U.S., some ethnic and minority populations have higher obesity rates, especially among children. They also have higher COVID rates. When it comes to children, their own death or chronic illness are not the only sources of worry. When adults die, they leave behind progeny more vulnerable to the life challenges that tend to promote obesity. It’s like a big tangled ball of twine with no obvious place to begin the unraveling.

Here is what the numerous authors say (with lavish amounts of documentation) in an article titled “When Pandemics Collide: The Impact of COVID-19 on Childhood Obesity“:

[A]s we see children with obesity are also at a higher risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19, we have been reminded of the urgency of addressing obesity as a disease. Parental stress is associated with childhood obesity in some studies, most recently in non-Hispanic Black families… Disturbances in the social environment during infancy and early childhood appear to play a critical role in weight gain and obesity.

About a year ago, researchers from Leicester and Nottingham Universities released a meta-study, combining the information gleaned in 50 previous studies carried out in the U.K. and mostly in the U.S. They found that, compared to the number of white people who contract COVID 19, Asian people are one-and-a-half times as likely to catch it, while Black people are twice as likely.

However, this does not appear to be due to genetic factors, according to the lead researcher, Dr. Manish Pareek. Rather it seems attributable to the fact that members of ethnic minorities are more apt to be employed in “frontline” jobs that expose them to infected people. There is also more of a tendency for many people to share the same quarters, with little opportunity for a sick individual to self-isolate.

On and off the rez

In a recent post, we discussed indigenous populations in various states who have been disproportionately affected by the virus. In Montana, Native Americans are dying from the disease at a rate 11 times higher than white residents. They are only 7% of the state’s population but have experienced nearly 40% of the virus deaths. Some of the reasons are the lack of running water, multigenerational living arrangements, and pre-existing conditions like diabetes. Another reason, suggests journalist Miranda Green, is that many of the state’s seven reservations border on areas where defiant white residents refuse to wear masks or take other anti-pandemic safety measures.

Nationwide, COVID-19 has killed Native Americans at almost twice the rate of white people. In January, Jacque Gray of North Dakota’s Center for Rural Health spoke to a CNN reporter Kristen Rogers about the lack of mental health services on the reservations. She mentioned a tribe that has experienced multiple suicides among people in the 20- to 40-year age group. Sadly, this leaves behind some very disadvantaged children and overburdened grandparents. To do something so final and so devastating to loved ones, a person would have to be in a severe mental health crisis.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “When Pandemics Collide: The Impact of COVID-19 on Childhood Obesity,”, 01/01/21
Source: “Black people ‘twice as likely to catch coronavirus’,”, 11/12/20
Source: “Montana tribes hard-hit by COVID-19 brace for Republican takeover,”, 01/09/21
Source: “Mental health is one of the biggest pandemic issues we’ll face in 2021,”, 01/04/21
Image by peachsmack/CC BY-SA 2.0

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources