Coronavirus Chronicles — eHealth to the Rescue

The current period is being compared to other historical eras, namely the chunk of time immediately after 9/11, and the hysterical level of anxiety about nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and, of course, the attack on Pearl Harbor that set off World War II. A spokesperson for the American Psychological Association (APA) confirms that folks are under a heavy stress load, to the point where “nearly every single person worldwide is currently experiencing some kind of coronavirus-related impact on their mental health.”

Things had already reached the point where potency medications for men could be obtained through an online consultation, and even several years ago, Colorado’s medicinal marijuana patients were able to renew their “red cards” by visiting with their prescribing physicians electronically.

A scientific journal, Telemedicine and E-Health, is devoted to these two subjects. In the psychological area, many therapists have been practicing online for years. A patient could use lunch hour to sit in his or her car and keep a weekly cell-phone appointment, and some therapists can be texted any time, and called on an as-needed basis. Sara Gaynes Levy writes that…

[…] telehealth services will be crucial in reducing the mental health burden of Covid-19, and organizations that currently offer digitized mental health services are already seeing spikes in users.

Patients are not the only ones who need answers, and the APA is modifying its website to assist practitioners in the protocols appropriate to therapy, when everyone is supposed to stay home. There are questions that have never been faced before. If the home-bound therapist conducts a talk session while holding a baby, is confidentiality breached?

Scheduled phone meeting have always been part of the plan for Dr. Pretlow’s W8Loss2Go program. The current research involves a multi-center randomized control trial to assess the effectiveness of a mHealth (mobile health) weight-loss intervention. One of the objects is to assess use of the smartphone application alone, as compared to a combination of the app with phone coaching.

Hanging in there

Meanwhile, school closures plus shelter-in-place orders are wreaking havoc on family life. Yes, some very lucky people live near bike trails or playgrounds, and are able to squeeze in a modicum of exercise in these trying times, but team sports are out of the picture. Schools have been decreasingly reliable suppliers of physical activity opportunity, but now, even that minimal amount of calorie-burning is gone. Frequent vigorous exercise inside the home is usually not feasible.

The sad truth is, some families live in circumstances that rely on all members not being home at the same time, because if they are, it may not even be possible for everyone to find a seat. With luck, they at least have TV to watch or video games to play. If there is only one TV and something goes wrong with it, the consequences could be serious, because tempers are short.

Jessica Sparks Lilley, M.D., director of the Pediatric Diabetes and Lipid Program at the Mississippi Center for Advanced Medicine, like so many other medical professionals, acknowledges that kids eat in response to stress and boredom, both of which are in plentiful supply right now. Hopefully, schools can map out directives for at-home physical education and exercise. (Pity the poor neighbors, who have enough of their own problems without children thundering overhead.)

Dr. Veronica Hackethal and others suggest,

Depending on the age of the child, online yoga may also be useful. Even though yoga burns relatively few calories, it incorporates mindfulness training that may be helpful.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Everyone’s Anxious. Therapists Are Slammed. Here’s How Mental Health Care Is Keeping Up,”, 04/06/20
Source: “COVID-19 Pandemic Spells Trouble for Children’s Health,”, 04/15/20
Image by W8Loss2Go

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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.

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