Coronavirus Chronicles — The Grim Twins, Up to No Good

The Grim Twins, obesity and coronavirus, those partners in crime, wear a lot of different masks. Coronavirus can pose as a fit young person in the peak of health, who actually is infected, and has plenty of virus to share. Obesity can disguise itself as a loving adult who lets a grandchild raid the cookie jar three times a day.

The virus has a lot of tricks up its sleeve. There is its diabolical ability to form new variants, escaping even the pitiful level of policing that humankind has as yet been able to respond with.
Childhood Obesity News has been talking about “long Covid” or PASC, and the remarkable number of ways in which it manifests. We have touched on local and systemic inflammation, the interplay between COVID-19 and hormones, and many other undesirable routes the relentlessly opportunistic virus finds to get all up in our business.

On a larger scale, the disease messes with both our dietary habits and our exercise capacity. In other words, both of the two major factors involved in obesity. Oh, and our ability to breathe, which influences not only body weight, but every other aspect of life, including the ability to tolerate exercise and, literally, to live. As if all this were not enough, it drags along in its wake a whole constellation of secondary consequences that touch every area of life.

Early adapter

Dr. Neil Chanchlani, of the United Kingdom’s University of Exeter, recognized quite far back that many auxiliary problems were occurring, and likely to get worse. He listed and discussed these adverse effects:

— Delays in seeking care for non-COVID-19-related illnesses, which can lead to severe illness and even death
— Widespread delays or omissions of routine childhood vaccinations, which can threaten herd immunity
— Missed detection of delayed development milestones, which are usually identified during routine child health checks

Dr. Chanchlani also went deep into the pandemic-related factors that affect social and mental health, such as inadequate housing, food insecurity, and financial distress. School cancellations of course affect the nutritional fate of children. Forced isolation can be very stressful, either in the truest sense of one person alone, or being boxed in with too many others, or others with repellent habits and personalities. (All these difficulties have also been characterized here as prominent obesity villains.)

He also mentions problems that may affect relatively few, but affect them deeply. Children who have come to the attention of the child protection authorities, or who have already been removed to foster homes, are supposed to have a close eye kept on them, which is not able to happen in the chaotic and restrictive plague environment. This one is especially painful:

Reductions in support for children with additional healthcare needs, such as those with developmental delays, can lead to delayed diagnosis and support.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Indirect adverse effects of COVID-19 on children & youth’s mental & physical health,”, 06/25/20
Images by in hiatus and Izzie Button/CC BY 2.0

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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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