Rubber and Road Part Company

“When the rubber meets the road” is the moment of truth, the point where things either work or go terribly wrong, where theories are proven or discarded. The trouble is, where humans are concerned, they contain so many variables that even ideas that seemed solidly entrenched for decades may be superceded.

Childhood Obesity News is in the process of extracting the kernel from each of its own posts about certain kinds of intervention. To cover the remaining items in this constellation of topics, it’s time to come up with some new images. Meanwhile…

“Smoking, Overeating, Other Bad Habits, and the Government”

This post contains a very important resource, the McKinsey Global Institute’s list of 18 general directions from which the obesity epidemic may be attacked, and this includes plenty of subcategories, making 74 “intervention levers” in all. We are looking at the extent to which many examples have succeeded in curbing other activities and habits inimical to the public good. If it made a dent in smoking, alcohol abuse, or other common vice, can it be useful to stop the obesity epidemic?

“Smoking, Obesity and Disease Culpability”

This post spotlighted a problem common to a growing number of people: lung cancer patients whose mental and emotional health is impacted by what they perceive as victim-blaming. One result is that some people are reluctant to go see a doctor, so diagnosis and treatment are delayed. Even lung cancer patients who never smoked feel oppressed by undeserved blame and guilt. Public awareness campaigns need to walk a fine line between offering help, and alienating the people who need it.

“Smoking, Obesity, Stigma, and Collateral Damage”

In some lives, shaming and stigmatization lead to suicide. There is some discussion of the psychological aspects of filling out health questionnaires, an area in which self-reporting is as unreliable as anywhere else. When children feel persecuted by doctors who want them to lose weight, they are likely to become adults who avoid doctors.

“Smoking, Obesity and Synergy”

Dr. Pretlow has said many times that information and education about nutrition are not enough. People who want to prevent or reverse their own obesity need their psychological toolbox filled with ways to divert and resist cravings. Fortunately, those skills can be taught and learned, to a very great extent.

But what they need first is motivation, and unless that is in place, probably not much progress will happen. Bureaucracies can be extraordinarily clumsy at trying to motivate people. This post also contains advice — from a man who lost 100 pounds — on how best to help someone who is engaged in an active struggle against obesity.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Photo credit: Carey Akin (cmakin) on Visualhunt/CC BY-SA

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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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