In the Midst of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Veggie Abundance

Chef Domenica Catelli is a food authority who takes a militant stand, who speaks of the fight against childhood obesity, and who wants us to step up to the front lines today and celebrate Childhood Obesity Awareness Month by making one positive change.

Along with being executive chef of a restaurant that has been the family business for more than seven decades, her capsule bio says the chef is…

[…] a national spokesperson on healthy cooking and organic foods, recurring Iron Chef Judge, chef to celebrities, author of Mom-a-licious: Fresh, Fast, Family Food for the Hot Mama in You! and inspirational mom. Her claim to fame among parents is getting kids to eat vegetables, without hiding the ingredients!

Catelli suggests that we take the positive step of reclaiming our kitchens because it has been shown that home cooking is one of the things that can help prevent childhood obesity. Out with the fast food and even the frozen stuff. In with the fresh, nutritious foods.

As parents and adults, and especially as role models, we have to start with ourselves. Even such a small change as eating one more vegetable or fruit than we did yesterday can make a difference. And we need to quit making excuses.

Catelli says,

It is such a tragedy that we even have to declare a month like this. Our apathy, busy-ness and let’s admit it, laziness, has allowed some of us to let this epidemic sneak into our lives.

Here we are, in the midst of the second annual Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and the two words of the day are “prevention” and “treatment.” The University of Michigan Health System, whose recent study evaluated the relative weight of the two, concludes that legislative support is needed for both.

The researchers suggest that treatment has not been emphasized enough, especially
for minority children. They say that only one-fifth of the American states cover obesity-related therapy through Medicaid and related programs.

The press release quotes lead author Joyce M. Lee, M.D., M.P.H.:

The Health Care Reform Bill passed in 2010 may play an important role for providing coverage for obese children, as it will require new health plans to cover obesity screening and counseling for children.

If, as Dr. Pretlow believes, addiction to highly pleasurable food is a major cause of the childhood obesity epidemic, it’s going to take more than screening and counseling. Treatment for addiction is lengthy and expensive, the kind that works anyway, chiefly the residential programs based on the 12-step tradition, coupled with long-term support. The neurobiofeedback field looks promising as a more economical, more efficient, and equally efficacious alternative. Meanwhile, prevention is always appropriate.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Make One Healthy Change for Childhood Obesity Awareness Month,” Web MD’s Tasty. Easy. Healthy, 09/06/11
Source: “White House’s Childhood Obesity Task Force Must Focus on Providing Treatment for Minority Children,” MarketWatch, 09/08/11
Image by apple_pathways (Amy Thewamy), used under its Creative Commons license.

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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.

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