Awareness Month, Childhood Obesity Style

Colorado Springs

For several years now, September has been the National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in America. Lauren Rossen, Ph.D., explains the concept, beginning with an assertion that, awareness-wise, we still have a long way to go.

One out of every three kids — that’s the official word on how many are overweight or obese. About half of them will probably normalize by the time they reach adulthood — but half won’t. They will be overweight and obese adults, and suffer from the many adverse medical conditions. One of Rossen’s purposes here is to tell the world about a book called Obesity 101, which she cowrote with Eric Rossen, Ph.D. Some glimpses are given here:

Know your child’s weight status.
Start early, and stick with it.
Change the environment.

Of course, the authors go into each of these concepts in much greater detail. The point is made that awareness begins at home. Rossen says:

More than half of parents fail to correctly identify their child as overweight or obese. Taken further, up to 80% of parents have never been told by a pediatrician that their child is overweight or obese…

She suggests several ways to accomplish this. As for the environment, there isn’t much to be done about the world outside, but, especially with younger children, changes in the home can make a huge difference.

This is the perfect month for the National Summit on Fighting Childhood Obesity, held in Colorado Springs last week. Also known as the Triple Play Leadership Summit, it is backed by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), and its object is:

[…] for young people to develop their own solutions for confronting the obesity crisis in their communities… At the conclusion of the event, participating youth developed action plans for how they will combat obesity in their own communities by the end of the year. The young leaders will implement such activities as cleaning up parks, reforming school lunch menus and organizing walks and runs to help put other young people on a better path for healthy lifestyles.

Guests included Marlen Esparza, 2012 Olympics bronze medalist in women’s boxing, as well as other athletes and various speakers. The Triple Play program is described as the main healthy lifestyle initiative of the BGCA. The troubling aspect is that along with being supported by the BGCA and the WellPoint Foundation, the founding sponsor of the Triple Play Leadership Summit is Coca-Cola, and that’s never a good sign. Here is an interesting guest bio:

Erika Von Heiland Strader: two-time U.S. Olympian, Pan American medalist, selected as U.S. Olympic ambassador for 2012 games, Director of Community Marketing at Coca-Cola.

Who would have envisioned such a career path?

Childhood Obesity News has been spotlighting food lately — as in home-grown, school garden-grown, and community garden-grown. Consider these discouraging figures paraphrased from a PDF download, courtesy of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Written by Dana Gunders, its disheartening title is, “Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill.”

Percentage of United States energy budget used to grow food: 10
Percentage of United States Land used for farming: 50
Percentage of fresh water used to grow food: 80
Percent of methane emissions caused by food rotting in landfills: 25
Percent of food that goes uneaten: 40
Number of dollars worth of food thrown out Americans each year: $165 billion

How much of this is fresh food, thrown out because the supposedly fresh food sold by supermarket chains is just simply inferior? When flavor is sacrificed for cosmetic appeal, shelf-life, and all the other considerations that cause the agriculture industry to genetically modify and otherwise mess with food — how much does that contribute to the throwing out of theoretically edible food? If people grew more of their own fruits and vegetables, would they be more likely to eat them? Probably, yes.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month,” SpringBoard, 09/05/12
Source: “Boys & Girls Clubs Of America Youth Leaders Convene For National Summit On Fighting Childhood Obesity,” Yahoo! News, 09/12/12
Source: “Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill” (PDF), NRDC, 09/12
Image by House of Hall (Bob Hall).

2 Responses

    1. Ridiculous, too. What the heck is that all about? At the very least, all that organic matter oughtta be in compost heaps, not landfills. If you try to be a good citizen and compost your organic waste, you get arrested for keeping a pile of garbage. It’s nuts.

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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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