The Ultimate Parents’ Checklist

family portrait

Let kids graze and snack as much as they want, at any random time of day or night. It’s every man, woman and child for himself or herself.

Keep the dining room table covered with clutter, to discourage any chance that the family will ever sit down together and share a meal.

If there are any unresolved issues or bones of contention between family members, dinner is a great time to air them. In case you run out of ideas, keep a “Problem Jar” nearby to draw from.

Serve only the richest, most calorically ambitious foods at home. The kids can always get plenty of salad at school!

Hover over kids like a vulture, monitoring and commenting on every bite.

Make every holiday an unforgettable feast, with only the richest, most calorie-dense dishes. If the child does not participate enthusiastically, accuse him/her of not really loving the family, the faith, the culture, or the country of origin.

Keep junk food within plain sight on every horizontal surface, so family members will be constantly reminded of its availability.

Purchase food by the criterion of package flashiness — the more reflective foil, the more fluorescent colors, and the more cartoon characters, the better.

When children visit your home, whether they are kinfolk or unrelated, be sure to bring out the most nutrition-deficient snacks — especially the items their parents have specifically asked you not to give them.

Stick with prepackaged, microwaveable meals to uphold the family’s image of status. Scratch cooking is for peasants!

Make sure your child spends plenty of time in front of an electronic screen, either watching shows with plenty of junk-food commercials, or playing games.

Let kids stay up as late as they want to. They’re only young once!

Whether the kids are your own, or you are just taking care of them, this tip yields amazing results. Carry around a bag of treats and, every time you need the child to do something, give a sugar-laden treat as a reward.

Keep on hand a stockpile of more impressive treats to be used for bribes. Given a sufficient amount of sugar, a child can be convinced to do almost anything!

Set an example of adult dignity and gravitas by spending all your spare time on the couch.

If a letter arrives from the nurse’s office at your child’s school, warning that the BMI is a bit out of whack — sue the interfering bureaucrats!

If your child’s doctor voices concern, assure her that both sides of the family tree are big-boned. If she persists, find another doctor.

If your child shows signs of depression, loneliness, or any other negative emotion, organize a trip to the nearest fast-food outlet and have a real splurge. Ask about dessert specials!

Happy April Fools Day!

Your responses and feedback are welcome.
Photo credits: PBoGS (top), shumpei_sano_exp7 (bottom) via BY-SA

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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