Inspiring Ideas

June 30, 2022
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When animals do displacement behavior and when people do procrastination, it all boils down to the same thing, which is “avoidance behavior.”

Tinbergen’s Four Questions

June 29, 2022
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Amidst the controversy that arose over the work of ethology’s founders, including Niko Tinbergen, his “Four Questions” have stood the test of time pretty well.

Tinbergen’s Later Phases

June 28, 2022
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Over the years, many scientists were having trouble with the untrammeled practice of assuming parallels between animal behavior and human behavior.

Tinbergen, Lorenz, and Animals (Continued)

June 27, 2022
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Tracing the history of the collaboration between Nikolaas Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz because it encompasses some of the ideas in Dr. Pretlow’s current project.

Tinbergen, Lorenz, and Animals

June 24, 2022
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Our recent posts have focused on Nikolaas Tinbergen because he was one of the scientists who contributed most to the earliest theories about ethology.

What Is Ethology? (Continued)

June 23, 2022
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Ethology is the study of animal behavior, particularly under natural conditions in the creatures’ natural environment.

What Is Ethology?

June 22, 2022
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The field of ethology is the biological study of animal behaviors, both instinctive and learned, in nature.

Animals in a Vacuum

June 21, 2022
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Why do humans get to define what is an inappropriate stimulus, and what is abnormal behavior?

Bad Distraction vs. Good Distraction

June 17, 2022
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This series is about helping kids find things to do with their hands (and in some cases, their mouths) that will help them avoid snacking.

Creative Obesity Prevention

June 15, 2022
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Children’s hands and mouths are both heavily implicated in the destructive habit of snacking, so let’s continue with the theme of keeping them busy.

Make the Minutes Count

June 14, 2022
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Every minute a child spends engaged in a rewarding activity that occupies hands and/or mouth is a minute to be treasured and repeated.

Every Minute Counts

June 13, 2022
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The basic message here is that every moment spent by a child in some activity other than eating is a moment to be treasured.

More Positive Moves for Parents

June 10, 2022
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One big reason why kids eat is because they are unhappy. Whether the parent feels like that is justified, or not, is irrelevant.

Positive Moves for Parents

June 9, 2022
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The philosophy of “Do as I say, not as I do” never works out well. The art of demonstrating true leadership includes eating lots of veggies and fruits.

Addiction and Displacement

April 11, 2022
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It’s not the food that is addictive, it’s the eating. This offers hope that the displacement mechanism may be useful in the treatment of eating addiction.

Shady Doings at the DGA

March 31, 2022
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The Dietary Guidelines for Americans was criticized for its too-cozy relationship with the food and pharma industries, and for conflicts of interest.

Confusion Over How to Make Every Bite Count

March 30, 2022
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We listen to experts on what type of fuel to put into our car. If only we would pay a similar amount of attention to what we put into our bodies.

The Return of the Thousand-Pound Sisters

March 4, 2022
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Amy and Tammy Slaton, morbidly obese adult sisters who won an eating contest and a TV reality show contract, are back.

Still Hooked

February 28, 2022
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It has been a while since addiction was discussed here, so the object of the next few posts is to catch up with ideas that people have had about the subject.

Doctors Do Own Research

February 14, 2022
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Xand and Chris van Tulleken, the very media-savvy twin doctors with weight issues, have a complicated history regarding both obesity and each other.

Obesity and Twin Psychology

February 11, 2022
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Xand and Chris van Tulleken are identical twins, both doctors, so how did it get to where they were 42 years old and Xand outweighed Chris by 30 pounds?

The Stuff We Eat

February 10, 2022
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Doctors and twins Xand van Tulleken and Chris van Tulleken produce a podcast and videos about their various excursions into the field of obesity prevention.

Can Hyperprocessing Be Halted?

February 9, 2022
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The public has become used to hearing about the unwisdom of the whole food-tampering enterprise, and also accustomed to not doing much about it.

The Monotrophic Diet

February 7, 2022
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According to some people, this is a category of fad diet and ought to be shunned. According to others, it is the ultimate in self-care wisdom.

Everything You Know About Potatoes Is Wrong, Continued

February 4, 2022
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Should we eat potatoes at all? Is it ever okay to follow an all-potato diet? No doubt, experts will continue to wrangle over the essential truths of potatoes.

Everything You Know About Potatoes Is Wrong

February 3, 2022
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Are potatoes generally good or bad for weight loss? The issue is contentious.

Everything You Know About Avoidance Is Wrong

February 2, 2022
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… Or is it? That is the eternal question. Despite decades of scientific research, there are still as many theories about food as there are theorists.

Coronavirus Chronicles — Hitting Kids Hard

December 30, 2021
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Teens and younger children are getting hit hard by COVID-19 and by Long COVID — lingering problems with fatigue and even heart disease.

Coronavirus Chronicles — COVID-19 and Kids, Yes, It Happens 

December 29, 2021
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A sharp upward trend in COVID-related pediatric hospitalizations plus an update on multi-system inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, and “long COVID.”

Coronavirus Chronicles — Fat Cells and Long COVID

December 27, 2021
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The revelation that COVID hides in fat cells, provoking the release of inflammatory cytokines and other kinds of trouble, is causing a bit of a stir.

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

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.

Food & Health Resources