Outstanding in Their Field: Alaina Vidmar, M.D.


Okay, the title of this post is an extremely corny pun. But the subject is, as the saying goes, “serious as a heart attack.” In the vernacular, that assertion is an example of hyperbole for comic effect. However, in this case, there is no exaggeration and thus no humor.

It used to be that obesity generally did not show up at such a young age as now; nor did it affect anywhere near as many children and adolescents. In the old days, it was recognized that some overweight and obese kids did consequently develop health problems later on. Now, obesity is all over the place, and it catches up fast.

One of the subdivisions of cardiovascular pathology is venous thromboembolism, where blood clots form in the veins, leading to organ damage including but not limited to stroke and… wait for it… heart attack. This is happening to kids — not in some far distant grownup year — but now. Kids are in hospitals with medical charts that look like a prankster swapped the test results for those of a middle-aged devotee of debauchery.

Dedicated professionals

Fortunately, many physicians specialize in areas of medicine poised to make a difference to the obesity epidemic. One such expert is pediatric endocrinologist Alaina Phillips Vidmar, M.D., who studied medicine at Medical College of Wisconsin and now practices in Los Angeles. She wrote up the study description for ClinicalTrials.gov, of “W8Loss2Go: Behavioral Weight Loss Intervention Utilizing Mobile Health Technology in Pediatric Patients Referred to a Tertiary Care Center Weight Management Clinic.” This document outlined the intentions and procedures for the planned 18-participant intervention.

We have spoken before of Dr. Vidmar, in the context of the poster she has created, which was shown at the Saban Research Institute last June. It was also featured at the Obesity Society’s 35th annual Scientific Meeting.

As we mentioned at the time, the ideal poster is comprehensible by the reasonably literate layperson, such as a member of the press, and also mollifies the scholarly mind’s demand for order, brevity and even elegance. This one was based on the work of Claudia Borzutzky, M.D.; Choo Phei Wee, M.S.; Steven D. Mittelman, M.D.; and, of course, Dr. Pretlow.

It can be seen at large, readable size here. The poster explains how the 18 obese adolescents were recruited through the EMPOWER Multidisciplinary Weight Management Clinic administered by Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and everything else about the study, in a thorough and concise manner.

Currently, Dr. Vidmar, in the role of primary investigator, is organizing the extensive study that is planned of the W8Loss2Go smartphone app that will begin in 2019 and last for three years. This large randomized controlled trial will involve five medical centers in Southern California.

Its purpose is to compare the W8Loss2Go app with personalized coaching to the same intervention administered by coaching alone using the mini book, “Addiction Model Intervention for Obesity in Young People.”

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Pediatric Endocrinology,” DocSpot.com
Source: “W8Loss2Go: mHealth Weight Management Strategy,” ClinicalTrials.gov, 09/15/17
Source: “The 35th Annual Scientific Meeting of The Obesity Society 2017 Abstracts Tuesday, October 31, 2017 Poster Abstracts Tuesday, October 31, 2017,” Amazonaws.com, 10/31/17
Image credit: Hartwig HKD/Creative Commons

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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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