Awareness Month — Settle in for a Read

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and around here, so are all the other months. In a search for enlightenment, these are comments on written works having to do with the plight of overweight and obese young people.

Teenage Waistland is a nonfiction book, which author Abby Ellin also dubs “Fat Camp Confidential.” In addition to weight loss camps, she explores “boarding schools, weight-loss programs, parent workshops, support groups, and surgical procedures.”

The most attractive part of Ellin’s description of her book is the section about explaining to parents how they can — or cannot — help their children grapple with various issues. She speaks from the stark experience of “her own adolescent struggle with food and weight, and journeys with hope, skepticism, and humor through the landscape of today’s diet culture.” She also interviewed a number of morbidly obese adolescents. Some of the questions that need to be asked are,

What can parents say that kids will hear?
Why don’t kids exercise more and eat less when they’re dying to be thinner?
What treatment methods actually work? Willpower, or surrender? Shame, or inspiration?

At the same time, there is an awareness that “one size does not fit all” and each troubled teen will ultimately need to find his or her own answers. The website also includes a lengthy excerpt from the book.

An uncredited critic wrote,

The problem with this book may be that it’s a little too honest… Yet the author’s compassion and her willingness to share her personal life, along with the book’s appendix listing helpful resources, may bring comfort to many distraught parents.

Fat Dad, Fat Kid

Shay Butler, on the verge of his 30th birthday, weighed nearly 300 pounds. Unwilling to risk the possibility that his five children might grow up as partial orphans, he decided on a program of incremental habit changes. A review says, “Adopting the attitude that every action, no matter how small, was better than what he was doing before, Shay lost more than 100 pounds.” He also invited his oldest son Gavin to join in, and this is the book they wrote about their experience. Bottom line: “Maintaining” is the hard part.

For more reading material about reading material, we recommend these archived posts:

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Teenage Waistland,”, undated
Source: “Teenage Waistland: a Former Fat Kid Weighs In on Living Large, Losing Weight, and How Parents Can (and Can’t) Help,”, undated
Source: “Fat Dad, Fat Kid: One Father and Son’s Journey to Take Power Away from the “F-Word,”, undated
Image by April Hansen/CC BY-SA 2.0

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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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