Zipping Through More Comparisons

Professionals concerned with obesity prevention are very interested in what methods might be induced to carry over from smoking cessation programs and alcohol interventions. This page continues to gather some of the main points from recent posts.

“More Parallels in the Quest for Control”

In the realm of food overconsumption, 12-step programs like Overeaters Anonymous have a respectable word-of-mouth reputation, although scientific verification is elusive. Bariatric surgery is unique to the food area, there being no equivalent surgical procedures to prevent the consumption of alcohol or nicotine.

Geographic limitations, like forbidding food and drink in pedestrian malls, parks, and other public areas, would probably never fly. Even if such a rule were enforced, the largest benefit would accrue to neatness and a lack of litter, while the overall effect on obesity would be difficult to validate.

“Can Tobacco Suppression Be a Model?”

And yet, some locational prohibitions have been outstandingly successful. We no longer smoke in hospitals; cigarette butts no longer litter the floors of college classrooms; and landlords have decreed that tenants have no right to smoke in the apartments they pay to live in.

In 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act limited the powers of the Food and Drug Administration in several ways. The law cannot require prescriptions to purchase tobacco products, or require that the nicotine content be reduced to zero, or ban certain classes of tobacco products, or “ban face-to-face sales in a particular category of retail outlets” — which sounds minor but which the industry must have fought hard against. If attempts are made to impact obesity with similar legislation, we must expect the same kinds of objections and exceptions.

“The Big Three  More Similarities and Differences” goes into the nuances of why and how public smoking and alcohol drinking are different from public eating (and drinking of any other beverage). “The Coulds and Shoulds of Control” examines a particular case, the all-you-can-eat style of restaurant, with the arguments for and against it.

“Suing the Devil”

This post looks at the strange contradiction in how different branches of the government are pitted against each other, on one hand encouraging and subsidizing the suppliers of tobacco, while on the other, taxing and scolding the consumers of that very product. We also observe the hanky-panky involved when corporations compensate the states for letting them do business. Obviously, lessons need to be learned before the government contemplates taking further control of food.

“Taxing the Devil”

And this post examines the strange phenomenon of the “sin tax” that piles extra penalties on such oddball enterprises as tanning salons. The tax on liquor is supposed to help pay for the damage caused by alcohol-related vehicle accidents. But how might the public be convinced to ignore the qualitative difference between the horror of dismembered bodies, and the relatively unspectacular damage caused by food-related obesity?

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act — An Overview,”
Photo credit: Clare Black on Visualhunt/CC BY

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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.

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