To the Teen People

When talking amongst themselves, some professional comedians (including some obese ones) admit that they went into the game because people were laughing at them anyway, for the wrong reasons. As professional funny people on stage, they at least have some choice about it, and some control over why people laugh.

They often discuss the subject of public perception, and talk about feeling self-conscious and sensitive about how people regard them in everyday life. Like, “Everybody’s thinking I’m high,” or “Everybody’s thinking I shouldn’t have shaved my beard,” or whatever. Then one day, they realize — “Everybody’s too busy thinking about themselves, to spare a thought for me.”

This may be true of some grownups, who have big issues to worry about. Unfortunately, it’s not true in school, where quite a lot of people may be thinking about you because they don’t have anything better to do with their lazy brains. For some people, their teen years are an excuse to spend ridiculous amounts of energy trying to make other people miserable, and they are experts at it.

Distracting demographics

At the top of the page, it says “Childhood Obesity News,” so what does that have to do with you? Well, it’s a technical issue. Here is the official word from both the U.S. Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, regarding the phases of life. They are:

(1) infancy, between birth and 2 years of age; (2) childhood, from 2 to 12 years of age; and (3) adolescence, from 12 to 21 years of age. Additionally, Bright Futures guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics identify adolescence as 11 to 21 years of age, dividing the group into early (ages 11–14 years), middle (ages 15–17 years), and late (ages 18–21 years) adolescence.

On a closely related topic, it should be known that clinical trials of the BrainWeighve phone app are being organized at the University of California, Los Angeles. There will be two successive beta tests of eight teens, both for three weeks each, followed by the four-month main trial with 30 adolescent subjects.

The seeming contradiction

A number of studies, including those in the childhood obesity field, raise the ordinary person’s eyebrows by being filed under “pediatric” when the subjects were 16, 18, and even 21. But it’s totally legit. By coincidence, obesity is the ideal field in which to corral a wide age range in a single group. A person of legal age, who is 30% over his ideal weight, and a toddler who is 30% over her healthy weight, are similar in many ways.

Likewise, almost any school-related problem can be found at all educational levels, from one-year-olds in daycare to 21-year-old college students. The details may differ, but the underlying dynamic is startlingly similar. We have talked about a number of reasons why school can be stressful — and have not yet mentioned the issue of grades, which is a biggie. Stick around, teen people. There is something here for you.

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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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