Anti-Obesity Programs Face Dicey Funding

The CDC publishes an informational page on Childhood Overweight and Obesity that branches off into facts, definitions, and causes/consequences. In that last-mentioned category, the government is firmly stuck in the energy balance paradigm, but better that than nothing. A program, which has been adapted for the Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration (CORD), is called MEND, which stands for Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It.

It is said that 30,000 people in five countries have gained benefits from attending MEND programs. At least the mind is given a token mention here, as one of the components of healthful, non-obese living. The Mind part consists of “helping families change unhealthy attitudes about food.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced a new High Obesity Program, which is said to be a five-year project but which only funds for one year at a time. Its purpose is to fund at least a dozen projects through land grant universities…

[…] to leverage community extension services to implement evidence-based strategies that increase access to places that provide healthier foods and safe and accessible places for physical activity in counties with an adult obesity rate of over 40%.

The universities conduct intervention strategies through existing cooperative extension and outreach services at the county level, in targeted counties, to improve physical activity and nutrition, reduce obesity, and prevent and control diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

In the last Childhood Obesity News post, we left off with the CORD program’s hope of providing “a new model of obesity care for the population who carries the highest burden of this disease.” Or maybe not.

From deep pockets to empty pockets

Who knows, from minute to minute, what is going on? CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, covers nine million kids whose families make too much to qualify for Medicaid, yet who still are low-income. This year’s history of funding has been a hectic, dizzying ride. In January, it was reported that Congress passed a six-year extension of CHIP funding.

In February, the Senate decided to stretch that to 10 years. Journalist Dylan Scott explained:

Extending the program had become effectively free after Republicans repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate in their tax bill in December. Because Obamacare plans, which would be the alternative to CHIP coverage, are expected to become more expensive, keeping CHIP instead is actually projected to save the federal government $6 billion over 10 years.

And yet only three months later, in May, headlines like this appeared: “$7 Billion in CHIP Cuts?” The Congressional Budget Office “expects that states will have sufficient federal funding to sustain their existing programs through the rest of the fiscal year.” This is explained in very great depth by Joan Alker, who is a research professor at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy, as well as Executive Director of the Center for Children and Families.

But in what has been called a “rarely used budget maneuver,” the Contingency Fund is rescinded, and some previously made agreements seem to have been violated. None of it sounds good.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “MEND stands for Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It!,”
Source: “HOP (1809),”, 2018
Source: “Summary of the 2018 CHIP Funding Extension,”, 01/24/18
Source: “Congress just funded CHIP for a full decade,”, 02/09/18
Source: “$7 Billion in CHIP Cuts?,”, 05/08/18
Source: “4 Takeaways From Trump’s Plan To Rescind CHIP Funding,”, 05/14/18
Photo credit: Sacca on Visualhunt/CC BY-SA

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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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