In Pediatric Obesity

There is more to say about “An addiction model-based mobile health weight loss intervention in adolescents with obesity,” recently published in Pediatric Obesity. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles plays a vital role in this work, and Childhood Obesity News has featured CHLA in several posts. The study authors are A. P. Vidmar, R. Pretlow, C. Borzutzky, C. P. Wee, D. S. Fox, C. Fink, and S. D. Mittelman, and the work is also available as a PDF file.

We also discussed Energy Management for Personalized Weight Reduction, or EMPOWER, as well as the general efficacy of mobile health, or mHealth. Technology is catching up with imagination, and mobile devices can help people with everything.

The interesting thing about the W8Loss2Go program is that it works whether or not the user entertains a philosophical belief about the nature of addiction. To borrow a phrase from the most widespread recovery system of them all, “The program works if you work the program.” Belief isn’t necessary. All a person has to do is follow the instructions. What could be simpler?

One answer to that question

Actually, it could be simpler to work with a demographic other than 12- to 18-year-olds. While the kids involved in a study may be more compliant than their age-mates, when it comes to things like filling out applications, attending briefings, and weighing out food portions, they are still adolescents.

Kids at a certain age develop that so-familiar attitude that elders know nothing. Teenagers can tend to be service-resistant, meaning they don’t want to be messed with, not even for their own good — and especially by authority figures of any ilk.

“Society and civilization want to crush individuality and autonomy, and it starts right here, with some adult (who frankly may not be in such great shape himself or herself) telling me what to do.” Does that sound familiar? In every generation, a certain number of young people voice those rebellious thoughts, and a certain number of adults hear them expressed.

As always, motivation matters. A young person whose only interest is in losing pounds, may not get, and may not want to get, the nuanced proposition behind commitment to the plan. The real object is to become less attracted to the habit of eating to allay the emotional pains of life. But when people sense that freeing themselves from emotionally-motivated eating is going to take some effort, some expenditure of mental energy, other priorities suddenly arise.

Other team members

In a series called “Outstanding in Their Field,” Childhood Obesity News posts featured some of the many colleagues involved in this study. For each one, here are links and related keywords.

Alaina Phillips Vidmar, M.D.
Pediatric endocrinology; clinical trials; poster; investigation; randomized controlled trial

Claudia Borzutzky, M.D.
Family medicine; adolescent medicine; obesity medicine; multi-cultural; fitness; pediatrics; EMPOWER; diabetes; investigation

Steven Mittelman, M.D., Ph.D.
Diabetes; obesity; endocrinology; leukemia; fat cells

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “An addiction model-based mobile health weight loss intervention in adolescents with obesity,”, 07/11/18
Image by Wiley Online Library

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

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.

Food & Health Resources