Dr. Fernando Fernandez-Aranda at the Symposium

The third speaker present at the World Congress of Psychiatry symposium chaired by Dr. Pretlow was Dr. Fernando Fernandez-Aranda, of Bellvitge University Hospital in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain. On the Department of Psychiatry faculty, his areas of expertise are eating disorders, obesity, risk factors, and behavioral addictions. He studies such abstruse corners of the addiction realm as the inverse relationship between visceral fat and taste and olfactory capacity, and cognitive behavioral therapy for compulsive buying behavior.

For the Congress, Dr. Fernandez-Aranda spoke on the traits shared by patients with obesity and eating disorders, including psychopathological variables, specific environmental risk factors, biological vulnerabilities, and maladaptive eating styles.

The Abstract reads in part:

Neurobiological functioning has also been found to be altered in both clinical conditions, namely with regard to reward processing, emotion regulation and decision making. In obesity and bulimic spectrum disorders, namely bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, the food addiction (FA) construct has become a topic of increasing interest in the scientific community in recent years, with diagnostic, clinical and potential therapeutic implications.

All these questions become more urgent as the news continues to worsen. Earlier this month it was reported that adult obesity rates still inexorably rise. Among kids age 2 to 19, the obesity percentage is 18.5.

Naill McCarthy specifies:

Broken down further, one in ten preschoolers aged 2-5, one in five children aged 6-11 and one in five adolescents aged 12-19 is considered obese.

The public receives some strangely mixed messages. Just days ago, it was reported that, for anti-obesity measures, defunding is in the cards. The previous Washington administration devoted considerable time and energy to the problem of childhood obesity, but those days are over.

Journalist Brian Beutler quoted a memo sent to the Office of Management and Budget, from the Domestic Policy Council. The memo described childhood obesity as mattering to the Health Human Services Secretary “for inexplicable reasons,” and went on to say:

Whatever has been designated to it should probably be reversed. Not a priority of this administration.

The memo specifically named playgrounds as a factor to be eliminated from the budget. Also, the higher-ups hold a belief that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) needs to quit worrying about those boring old chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes. Instead, the CDC should concentrate on infectious diseases, because they are more amenable to “data-driven programming.”

But some authorities beg to differ. Julia Belluz wrote:

Just last week, the Lancet medical journal published a new report on the state of childhood obesity. It found the rate of obesity for children and adolescents had risen tenfold globally in the past 40 years.

Additionally, a group looking out for the best interests of America’s military establishment has taken a stand. The Council for a Strong America warned Coloradoans that their state, with 27% of its kids overweight, is endangering the country’s defense capability.

Journalist Tom Roeder writes:

Between other health issues, criminal records and other troubles from facial tattoos to drug habits, a full 70 percent of Colorado teens are ineligible for military service.

Apparently, the quest for fit recruits has led the Army to pay enlistment bonuses that average almost $13,000. This is yet another of obesity’s societal costs.


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Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Shared and differential traits between ED and obesity and the addictive bases of bulimia and binge eating with novel treatment strategies,” Wpaberlin2017.com, 2017
Source: “White House officials think childhood obesity is not a problem. Have they seen the data?,” Vox.com, 10/20/17
Source: “Too fat to fight: Colorado nonprofit says military threatened by childhood obesity,” Gazette.com, 10/17/17
Image source: akiradesigns/123RF Stock Photo

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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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