Speaking of Advice for Parents…

If anyone would like a list of rules formulated by a Danish pediatrician, which have been adopted by jurisdictions even in other countries, that would be Dr. Jens-Christian Holm’s list, otherwise known as The Children’s Obesity Clinic’s Treatment (TCOCT) protocol. (For reasons as yet undiscerned, it works better for boys than for girls, but it definitely works.)

For a year and a half, 1,001 kids and teens (ages 3 to 18) were monitored by researchers. All these young people followed the way of TCOCT, and three-quarters of them maintained weight loss “based on one annual discussion with a mentor lasting just 5 hours.” According to the literature,

In principle, the children and their families must actually implement the plan. While the TCOCT model provides knowledge and understanding, dignity, empathy and great service are decisive. The guiding rules on lifestyle they take home are easy to understand and implement and provide clear results… Even the children’s parents lost weight.

Dr. Holm has trained a ton of treatment specialists to do what he does — over 600 of them, all over his part of the world, and get this — “regardless of geography, degree of obesity or social status,” the specialists all obtain the same results. Apparently, the outcomes are as reliably standard as McDonald’s burgers, except they are good. This is accomplished by “spending only 5 hours per child per year to draw up a specific plan with the parents and the child — and follow up and adjust the treatment plan.”

This is a fabulous ratio between time investment and results. It is a record any institution or business would envy. Any program that returns a 75%-ish success rate must be doing something right.

Now, when it comes to the plan itself, things get a little complicated. Dr. Holm actually formulated an à la carte menu of about 100 rules. From them, typically, a couple of dozen rules are chosen for any particular family. Reporter Sophie Borland published a sample list comprising of 17 of the many possible choices.

Time flies quickly

One main piece of advice is, rather than give a child her or his allowance in cash, deposit it in a bank account. But this would probably not play in Poughkeepsie. American kids are used to the concept that an allowance is for now, for what Great-Grandma used to call “walking-around money.”

An American kid might be persuaded to put holiday money gifts and birthday checks into a savings account, but locking up the allowance would be a hard sell. Especially after a child is old enough to have friends, and unless those friends can be stopped from blabbing.

This idea also serves to illustrate how quickly some advice becomes outdated. Now that everyone has a cell phone, a rash of cash apps guarantees that people can swap money around via several methods, and consequently more people every day are willing to give them a try.

But here is something more fascinating:

According to Jens-Christian Holm, the decisive revelation for the TCOCT model is that obesity is a chronic condition. This revelation is especially important to implement in the educational aspects of treating obese children. “These children and their parents need to understand that the treatment applies 24/7 for the rest of their life.”

Holy guacamole, what does that sound like? It sounds exactly like the projected and expected lifestyle of any recovering addict, including the recovering alcoholic… and the recovering food addict. Because recovery is a journey, not a destination. It’s a one-day-at-a-time proposition, every day, forever. Although he does not seem to have said or implied as much, anywhere, it certainly appears as if Dr. Holm believes in food addiction.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Jens-Christian Holm,” CPH-Bioscience.com
Source: “Has this town found the cure for childhood obesity?,” DailyMail.co.uk, 11/10/14
Photo credit: Kim Woodbridge via Visualhunt/CC BY

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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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