Awareness Month All Year

Earlier this year, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America gave nine American cities awards of various amounts, totaling $745,000. The winners were recognized for supporting “programs to enhance health, wellness and environmental quality of life for children and families.”

Salisbury, NC, and Daytona Beach, FL, are both intensely addressing childhood obesity prevention. Denver, CO, is home to Food Matters: Solutions for Food Waste Reduction…

[…] an innovative two-part project that aims to address both environmental sustainability and food insecurity. The program will teach Denver residents to make full use of the food they purchase and consume and incentivize local restaurants to donate surplus food to those in need.

In Des Moines, IA, a program provides fruits and vegetables for children with diet-related diseases, “while delivering nutrition education and collecting and monitoring biometrics on a routine basis.” Baltimore, MD, focuses on gardening and cooking. Montgomery, AL, also concentrates on outdoor gardening for the sake of both fitness, and better food.

In Orlando, FL, a program trains young people to become certified beekeepers. Bridgeport, CT, wants to improve the public health and fitness facilities in two city parks. The program that won for White Plains, NY, sounds very serious:

Peer Advocates for Healthy Living (PAHL) will recruit 40 high school youth who will undergo rigorous 12-week (36-hour) training in nutrition; healthy cooking on a budget; barriers to achieving health (emotional, social, and/or physical); and public speaking and presentation skills.

For Physicians Weekly, Sara Karjoo, M.D., delineated several principles that are important for every doctor to bear in mind. Why? Because:

By addressing obesity in pediatric patient care, physicians can potentially slow the progression of metabolic disease, along with numerous serious chronic diseases. By taking these steps, we can serve as better advocates for our patients’ future health.

While other factors may come into play, healthful food and sufficient exercise are the foundation on which everything else rests. The societal, cultural, personal and medical risks of obesity are different for children and teens than they are for adults. It is definitely not a one-size-fits-all situation. And with children, it is not useful to make a big deal out of poundage:

Weight loss is not as critical a parameter in children. Rather than weight loss, the emphasis for children should be on promoting healthy habits and improving body composition.

Doctors are also advised not to ignore new tools or treatments, or advances in such formerly science-fictional areas as genetic testing, to identify traits that lead to obesity. Another suggestion is to take a second look at something formerly shunned, like bariatric surgery, which can greatly benefit a teen with multiple co-morbidities.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Nine Cities Share $745,000 in Grants to Promote Childhood Obesity Prevention…,”, 01/29/22
Source: “CDC Study Finds Alarming Increase in Pediatric Obesity Rates 5 Points for Physicians to Understand,”, 01/13/22
Image by Nicholas Wang/CC BY-SA 2.0

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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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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