Coronavirus Chronicles — Reasons for Keeping Your Kid Safe

Here we are, in our worst relationship yet with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, as the organism is familiarly known. This tiny creature is still with America, now more than ever before.

Childhood Obesity News was hoping to eventually discard many of the saved files on the subject of the depredations this disease is capable of performing. Wouldn’t it be great if all that accumulated research could just be tossed like a used paper mask? There would be more time in which to, for instance, take a closer look at corporations that actively promote childhood obesity.

But no. The numbers of positive cases and of deaths are going up. Governments, whether local, state, or federal, are pressed to intervene. Whether enforcement is lax or severe, parents will continue to cope with the thousand irregularities and inconveniences caused by the need to stay at home. Every family determines the risk level it is comfortable with, and some make choices that lead to bad places.

There are several reasons to keep a child from catching COVID-19. The first is both altruistic and selfish at the same time. Namely, you don’t want your kids to bring it home. Altruistically, you don’t want other family members and associates to catch it. Selfishly, you don’t want to catch it, and also do not want to deal with the fallout when a family member or associate falls victim to the virus. You don’t want the tests, the quarantine, the temperature-taking, the hospital visits, the nursing of sick relatives, the errands to find food and supplies, and you very much don’t want the expense.

Of course, another reason to actively avoid the virus is that you don’t want your child to be sick with this awful, unpredictable, horrible disease that seems to keep coming up with new and unwelcome surprises. Yet another reason to avoid the virus is if your child falls ill with it, she or he will be even more immobile and exercise-deprived than before, and probably gain pounds that are not toned muscle weight. Obesity is a massive problem in and of itself — else there would be no need for the website you are tuned to right now. And obesity creates a tempting target for the virus (see the previous paragraph.)

The virus apparently has a particular taste for fat cells. Producers can make all the fun physical activity videos they want, but the stark fact is, not every home can accommodate exercise. There might be a 96-year-old grandma on the couch, and a night-shift-working dad in one of the bedrooms and a baby in the other. The television might quit, and there is no money to replace it. For many families, the lack of appropriate physical activity space, or any space at all, is an intractable problem.

Another factor that parents have to take into consideration is, well, consideration. Your own kids would happily jump around for hours every day. But… not all COVID-19 patients are hospitalized. What if the downstairs neighbor is suffering through a case of it at home, with raging headaches, a fever, a racking cough, and total body pain? How much overhead thunder is it fair to subject that person to, for the sake of our own kids?

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Image by Marco Verch/CC BY 2.0

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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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