Miscellaneous Media and Childhood Obesity

A while back, it was announced that prominent ex-wife Ivana Trump was starting a campaign against obesity in the United States, partnered by an Italian businessman. The products are low-carb foods and nutritional supplements, marketed as the “Italiano Diet.” Ms. Trump is quoted as saying,

It’s all on the parents. Whatever they put on the plate in front of the children, they’re hungry, they don’t cook, they eat. So if you put food in front of them that’s junk — pizza, unhealthy food, French fries — of course they eat it, and then they get obese.

All undeniably true, but the sincerity is questionable when the goal is to make $30 million in profits, “over the next few years,” for the business partners. To journalist Eliza Relman, this sounds more like “a marketing campaign for a private venture dressed up as a public health initiative.” Relman also points out that pizza and fried chicken are two of the products that Ms. Trump supplemented her income by advertising in the past.

Ms. Trump vows to “make America svelte again” while Mr. Gianluca Mech states that American obesity is a calamity. Still, this attitude is gentler toward obesity than the one held by Sandy Hook gunman Adam Lanza, who in 2012 killed 20 children and six adults at an elementary school, after killing his mother. Journalist Dave Altimari wrote:

Lanza memorialized his contempt for “fat” people in a document he created about his daily schedule. On his list of 35 reasons to hate food and fat people: “Starve off the parts you don’t need. They’re ugly and they drag you down. Food is mean and sneaky. It tricks you into eating it and it works on you from the inside out making you fat, bloated, ugly and unhappy.”

But apparently, what caused the mass murderer’s own ugliness and unhappiness was the exact opposite: not enough food. At the time of the slaughter spree, Lanza weighted 112 pounds, distributed over a 6-foot frame. Reportedly, he suffered from not only depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Asperger syndrome, but also profound anorexia. At least one expert has suggested that the lack of adequate nutrition caused actual brain damage.

Federal involvement

Meanwhile the current administration in Washington has made a mission of reversing the school lunch improvements accomplished in the Obama years. A publication called Business Insider might be expected to have limited sympathy for government programs aimed at improving nutrition. Instead, it invites readers to “See how federal rules have changed for the worse.”

Studies from Childhood Obesity, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and the National Institutes of Health verify the benefits of better quality school meals for children. Journalist Hilar Brueck lists additional source materials on the subject and offers a theory:

It costs more to feed kids healthier meals, however. And with the administration set on major budget cuts — including spending less on programs that feed children and slashing billions from the education budget — the cost-cutting effects of feeding children cheaper, processed foods may be a primary reason for the rollback.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Ivana Trump is bringing a Berlusconi-approved diet to the US in an effort to ‘make America svelte again’,” BusinessInsiderlcom, 06/14/18
Source: “Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza’s spreadsheet detailing centuries of mass violence served as a road map to murder,” Courant.com, 12/09/18
Source: “Kids across the US are eating fewer whole grains and more sugary milk in school lunches,” BusinessInsider.com, 12/10/18
Photo credit: Steve Davis on Visualhunt/CC BY

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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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