Child Obesity: FAQs and Greatest Hits

children on park merry-go-round

This site is dedicated to exploring the physical, social, emotional, and political issues surrounding childhood obesity.

We invite you to explore some of our most popular — and controversial — posts and series. Here are a few examples:

Why is childhood obesity such a problem right now?

From food engineering to global marketing to the explosion of the video game industry, the world changed in several different ways over the past few decades. Dr. Pretlow calls this the “perfect storm” that led to the childhood obesity epidemic.

Why is fast food such a problem?

Fast food is inexpensive, easy to find everywhere, and tastes good once you get used to it. Dr. Pretlow and many other people believe that fast food is purposely designed to “hook” people into being addicted to it.

Why do many obese children suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain forms of cancer?

Those are a lot of questions! Here is an article about the beginnings of diabetes.

Can a child die from being overweight? 

Yes. When a person is so heavy that it’s life-threatening, that’s called morbid obesity.

What kinds of food make children fat?

Junk food is obviously bad, but a greater, largely unappreciated force is sugar.

Why don’t children just go outside and play more?

One reason is, the computer or TV gives an immediate reward, something to feel  good about right away. With exercise, the playing itself feels good, but the real rewards — such as a long, healthy life — don’t show up right away. Also, unfortunately, some children don’t live in places where it’s safe to play outside, and few school districts allow or encourage walking or biking to school.

Image by Ryan Schroeder

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

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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