Displacement, a Partial Roundup

The Mysteries of Displacement Behavior

Any one of the oddball facts about animals might be the key to the kingdom, somehow. If we understand a bird that picks out its own feathers, maybe we can understand a girl who pulls out her own hair.

All addictions have one purpose — to avoid pain. All displacement behaviors also have the same purpose. Any one of them, if disentangled from the mass, might lead to a magical clue or a silver-bullet cure. The whole subject of displacement activities is so tantalizing because it is like a ball of twine with many loose threads sticking out. Which one do we pull?

Displacement As a Concept

Many creatures have been getting along for millennia without human opinions to guide them. Maybe we don’t know everything about why animals do the things they do. They have successfully navigated the world and stayed alive to reproduce their kind for millennia, whereas the “displacement mechanism” was not heard of until Freud invented it in 1913. Quite possibly, displacement theory belongs squarely in the realm of human psychology, and animals should just be left out of it.

Displacement Phenomena, Questions, and Problems

Even decades ago, researchers faced many potential complications in their quest to pin down the notion of displacement. Dr. Dalbir Bindra was not satisfied with the party line about animals and displacement behavior, and asked some rather pointed questions. He suggested bringing in all kinds of variables, like how animal responses line up with such factors as arousal level, habit strength, and sensory cues.

Displacement Thoughts

Even the most dedicated scientists might not always have a handle on what animals are up to. As in any other field, previous theories were built upon or revised, or quietly discarded. Authorities disagree on how much animal behavior is actually what humans call displacement activity. Part of the difficulty is that many humans have been programmed to believe there are only two possible responses to a perceived threat, those being “fight or flight.”

The idea expanded into a doctrinal tenet that anything else an animal might do in such a situation is wrong or “inappropriate.” But some prominent researchers resist the trend toward anthropomorphizing animals, and think that ascribing to them such human emotions as “embarrassment” is a mistake. (See the photo on this page, which the artist titled “Embarrassed.”)

Displacement Is a Multifactorial Thing

Like everything else in psychology, the “displacement mechanism” started with Freud. A well-known quotation from a later authority pointed out that a thwarted animal who is prevented from engaging in a particular activity tends “either to direct the same activity toward another object or to engage in a completely different activity.” It would be difficult to envision a third alternative. Other than doing the same or different, what additional possibility exists? And doing anything different might include… anything.

Yet, many researchers in this area insist that the only orthodox responses to a threat situation are “fight or flight.” This throws every other possible response into the category of displacement behavior, which in turn signifies wrong, inappropriate, futile, and silly behavior.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Image by Paulo Lins/CC BY 2.0

Displacement Thoughts With Particular Slants

Coronavirus Chronicles — Boredom and Distraction

For anyone whose go-to stress response is eating, times of enforced isolation and heightened anxiety are particularly bad times. This seems to be the case whether eating is a chemical addiction or a behavioral addiction. In addition to all the other problems inherent in the pandemic, to prevent their children from eating constantly, parents were called upon to devise means of capturing their attention and filling their time.

Coronavirus Chronicles — Depression, Boredom, and Eatertainment

The rogue displacement mechanism of overeating can be overcome by distractions, but distraction only works if the subject is interested in the distractor. This piece addresses the triple threat of depression, boredom, and eatertainment when kids are required to spend too much time at home.

Coronavirus Chronicles — Displacement Is Substitution

Displacement activity occurs in many forms, of which eating is one. But what happens when there just isn’t any food? This was the situation faced by many parents at the height of the pandemic. Dr. Pretlow says,

Displacement activity is an innate, hard-wired, instinctual, automatic biobehavioral mechanism… Displacement activity is rechanneling of overflow energy from conflicted or thwarted drives into another drive.

Displacement — Definitions and Examples

Dr. Pretlow explains how displacement, or rechanneling overflow brain energy to another drive (feeding) unbalances the equilibrium between two other opposing drives, and how this can resolve a stressful situation at the moment. Of course, it sets up another threatening situation in slow motion, creating obesity that will in turn become a stressful situation

Some Displacement Background

This post looked at Niko Tinbergen’s ideas on displacement theories, and how other experts questioned his methods and conclusions.

Tapping the Source of Malaise

This post examines the idea that it is not food that causes overeating, but the life situations the person is facing. It introduces Carly Hurt, the young woman who has played such a big part in the advancement of Dr. Pretlow’s work with adolescents.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Image by Julija Rauluševičiūtė/CC BY 2.0

Displacement Mechanism Posts

Addiction and Displacement Theory Presentation 1-8

An eight-post series that takes a deep dive into one of Dr. Pretlow’s writings.

Addiction and Displacement

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.

Displacement Behavior in the Animal Kingdom

Displacement activity, universal in the animal kingdom, stems from situations of major opposing or thwarted behavioral drives, e.g. fight or flight. However, some researchers have said that in regard to many animals, we simply do not know enough about their natural behavior to make unwarranted assumptions about deviant or out-of-context behavior.

Some Thoughts on Displacement Behavior

Displacement behavior in animals may become compulsive and destructive, like the excessive grooming of the fur in response to stress or social isolation.

Laughter As Displacement Behavior

In addition to the half dozen or so recognized types of displacement behavior, zoologist Basil Hugh Hall proposes that laughter, as an effective stress alleviator, is a legit displacement response. He also suggests that the notion of laughing “with” and “at” individual people or groups is a flawed concept. This quotation is interesting:

I do not believe we laugh at, or laugh with, anyone, as the disinhibition of laughter is an involuntary response to conflict during event processing on a neurological level.

More About Laughter As a Displacement Behavior

Laughter could serve as a displacement activity, with the same function as several other behavioral alternatives, including fight, flee, freeze, and feed. This piece discussed the ability to provoke laughter which, even for children, can be an effective defense against bullying. It works for grownups too, where a rough crowd will tolerate someone for her or his ability to make others laugh.

It also works for children, to disarm classroom teachers, who are not even trying to bully anyone, but merely to maintain order and teach the kids something. Authority figures who permit humor every so often have to walk a fine line between tolerance and permissiveness. Humor can get people out of threatening situations, and that alone would seem to qualify it as an effective displacement mechanism.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Laughter as an exapted displacement activity: the implications for humor theory,” ResearchGate.net, June 2009
Image by Scouse Smurf/CC BY-ND 2.0

Some Posts About Displacement

Animals, People, and Displacement Behaviors

If eating makes us feel safe, then in an effort to erase our bad feelings, we can eat until it turns into something that looks very much like an addiction. This post also talks about the difficulty of separating apparent displacement activity from normal life activities in the animal kingdom. How do we know that other creatures perceive and react to stimuli in ways that correspond to human reactions?

Displacement Activities in Animals and Humans

There are behaviors that animals and people might engage in to relieve the discomfort of a threat, whether physical or intangible. What do they have in common? Apparently, the tendency to engage in comfort eating. A dog trainer looks at some of the displacement behaviors that her canine clients might engage in.

Some experts place a great deal of credence in conclusions they have drawn from studying dogs. However, the case around canines could be argued. They all started as wolves, and they have all been purposefully bred, for hundreds of generations, to keep the traits that please humans (for whatever purpose) and to diminish the natural traits that humans do not find useful or attractive. So, how much of what we learn by observing dogs can honestly be extrapolated to any meaningful knowledge about human behavior?

Responses to Perceived Threat

There are reasons to think that ideas about displacement activities in dogs are not quite relevant to humans. Well then, how about wild chimpanzees? What can be learned from them about human psychology, addiction-proneness, or anything else?
This post also talks about yet another threat response — freeze. It is similar to another recognized displacement behavior, fainting, except the person is still conscious, although the state of that consciousness is altered.

Displacement Behavior and the Many Related Fs

Can a bee have a nervous breakdown? Is an octopus capable of experiencing anxiety, and if so, how does it manifest? The F’s referenced in the title are fight, flee, freeze, feed, fornicate, fool around, fidget (which seems pretty close to fooling around), and faint (which at first glance could be just a more intense form of freezing, but is probably something entirely different.) The problem is that, except with well-studied species like canines, humans just do not know enough about normal animal behavior to make assumptions about their motivations and intentions.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Image by Bureau of Land Management/Public Domain

And We Wonder Why We Are Fat?

As we have seen, January is World Health Esteem Month, as well as Clap 4 Health Month, which was originated by Shape Up Us in 2018. And Family Fit Lifestyle Month. And National Staying Healthy Month, which concentrates on the concept of balance.

In addition to the aforementioned Lose Weight, Feel Great Week, the first week of January was also Diet Resolution Week, and its page on the history of weight-loss dieting salutes some weight-loss diets that were publicly advocated as far back as 1724. Also, people in the United Kingdom will embark tomorrow on National Obesity Awareness Week. The 12th is Healthy Weight, Healthy Look Day. The 17th will be Rid the World of Fad Diets & Gimmicks Day. Its page says, “Being overweight was such a social handicap at the time that a book published in 1881 even suggested that governments arrest and imprison overweight people.” And, the 19th celebrates Women’s Healthy Weight Day.

Food months, weeks, and days

In the United States, this is Slow Cooking Month, as well as being dedicated to three separate foods: soup, oatmeal, and menudo. Pizza Week begins on the 2nd Sunday, and Fresh Squeezed Juice Week begins on the 3rd Sunday. The month’s last Sunday is the kickoff day for Meat Week.

The list of national food days for this January is astounding. Almost every day is designated National Whatever Day for some kind of food, and several days carry the burden of honoring more than one food or eating custom. Aside from National Buffet Day, they include days devoted to cream puffs, chocolate-covered cherries, spaghetti, whipped cream, beans, shortbread, tempura, toffee, apricots, bittersweet chocolate, milk, marzipan, peach melba, hot pastrami sandwiches, bagels, strawberry ice cream, fig newtons, Peking duck, popcorn, buttercrunch, cheese, granola bars, pie, peanut butter, peanut brittle, chocolate cake, blueberry pancakes, corn chips, croissants, and hot chocolate. The astute reader will recognize that not many of these are recommended by healthful eating experts.

How does this happen?

As it turns out, creating a National Day involves very little effort. The National Day Calendar was founded by North Dakotan Marlo Anderson in 2013. Free subscriptions to it are given to 20,000 media outlets. When a company or organization buys a day, they get a place on the website, a press release, a certificate, a media alert to related publications and, of course, a lot of raised awareness.

Journalist Jillian Berman wrote,

Applicants submit a brief online form. The committee must unanimously agree for the day to be featured on the calendar, which is offered in print and online. If a day is approved, the applicant must pay $2,300 to $4,500…

Special days keep growing as barriers to new celebrations fall. Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms have made it easier than ever for companies to create so-called hashtag holidays and amplify special days that fit with their brand.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “History of Diet Resolution Week,” NationalToday.com, undated
Source: “Does it seem like everything has its own ‘day’? Here’s why,” MarketWatch.com, 07/12/16
Image by Dan Moyle/CC BY 2.0

Lose Weight, Feel Great Week

In case you missed it, January 1 was, by decree of Life Time Fitness, Commitment Day, and has been for 10 years. The Founders suggest:

Celebrate the day by making a commitment to a new and healthy way of life. Set goals and choose one positive action to start the year with. Take part in classes and events…

… especially those held by their company. The decision to “go on a diet” is probably the #1 New Year resolution made by Americans. Not surprisingly, the initial seven days of the first month also constitute National Diet Resolution Week. The same time period is also designated as Lose Weight, Feel Great Week, which has been a thing since at least 2008.

Writer Claudia Strasbourg credited U.S. Olympian fencer Jana Angelicas (a big fan of portion control) for introducing the Week, and explained by noting that restaurants tend to serve customers very large portions of food. People who were brought up under the “Clean your plate” rule feel obligated to eat it all. Of course, such parents always had logical reasons for the dictum. After all, they had paid good, hard-earned money for the food. As if that were not sufficient justification, there was also the guilt factor. Starving children in China, India, or Bangladesh would be grateful to have that meal. So eat up!

The writer says that 75% of obese people believe that they “eat healthy” and perhaps they do — it’s just that they eat too much of it. Also, 40% of adults who answered a telephone survey claimed to engage in “vigorous exercise” at least once a week. Strasbourg added,

Of the 11,000 individuals contacted, about 3,800 were of normal weight, 200 underweight, 4,200 people overweight, 3,100 obese or morbidly obese.

Just 19% of obese respondents said they read nutritional labels as opposed to 24% of normal weight people… Larger people ate all they were served regardless of portion size. Thinner people rarely cleaned their plate.

Looks like there was some cognitive dissonance going on among the survey respondents!

More recently, in 2013, an New York restaurant called 4food, which specialized in local, natural, gluten-free and vegan dishes, offered original treats for Lose Weight, Feel Great Week. In addition to new menu items, they gave customers the opportunity to complete a nutrition profile, along with professional fitness advice, vitamin and supplement information, and other incentives like product discounts and one free session with a personal trainer.

National Lose Weight/Feel Great Week, which aims for a positive body image and establishing a healthy relationship with food, is also endorsed by a professional online school that trains people in the corporate world whose jobs involve the health and wellness of employees in their companies and organizations.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Commitment Day,” Checkiday.com, undated
Source: “How Did National ‘Lose Weight/Feel Great’ Week Affect You?,” NewspaperWomen, 04/14/08
Source: “4food Delivers the Scoop On Lose Weight, Feel Great Week,” PRWeb.com, 2013
Source: “Health and Wellness at Work — Online Course,” MandatoryTraining.co.uk, undated
Image by Stock Catalog/CC BY 2.0

Fusion: Principles That Carry Over

It is kind of amazing, how we learn a new thing and it fits comfortably with something we already knew. For instance, yesterday’s post listed one organization’s 10 tips for grabbing onto our “health esteem” because this is, after all, the official World Health Esteem Month. Today, we look at how well those principles and aspirations meld with the capabilities of the BrainWeighve phone app.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation and BrainWeighve

The beauty of BrainWeighve is, a person can ease into it, just dip a little toe in the water, enter the baseline info or explore around for a bit, first. We all have nuggets of wisdom we’ve already learned from experience or heard from other sources. It is reassuring to see how comfortably the BrainWeighve procedures fit into and mesh with and extend our previous knowledge.

Consider the following examples, selected from the list composed by Coach Dave of The Fit Club Network.

“Do the hardest thing first”

This is where the BrainWeighve Dread list comes in. A normal person probably has several Dreads, and this list idea helps a person to prioritize and decide which Dread to tackle first. The thing about Dreads is, you can continue to avoid them, but they don’t go away. They need to be faced. They require a plan, and maybe even more than one plan, but they definitely need to “git gone.”

“Plan lunch the day before”

Why? Because it is so easy to kid ourselves about our motives and intentions. Planning ahead makes us less likely to just grab any old yucky bag of awfulness out of a vending machine. BrainWeighve is prepared to handle these issues with a screen called “Getting Hooked” and another titled, “Here are examples of plans to avoid being drawn to pleasurable food.” The app helps us to be honest about identifying our problem foods and putting them in their proper places — out of our brilliant new lives.

“Swap afternoon treats for ‘superfood desserts'”

With BrainWeighve, there is a lot of emphasis on snacking and how to banish it, or at least exercise a much greater degree of power over it.

“Give energy”

Here is where a screen called “Rechanneling” can be of use, because it’s all about redirecting overflow brain energy to activities that do not involve eating. Also, see the section on Relationships. Giving energy is extending help, listening patiently to people’s troubles, and a lot more various manifestations, and it is always helpful to both parties. Sometimes we are also called upon to put some energy into Damage Control, another department of learning. After settling in and feeling at home, we give energy by sharing our successes and ideas with fellow BrainWeighve users.

“No screens 30 minutes before bed”

These cautions fit in with BrainWeighve’s general area of Sleep.

“Take time for a post-work reflection”

With BrainWeighve, reflection can include assistance areas like Meditation, Serenity Prayer, and Compartmentalize. During these spells of contemplation, we can think about the Triggers that initialize our slipups, and how to avoid or neutralize them. We can identify our Motivations. We need some time to think about the ways we messed up, and to acknowledge that we can repair the damage. We need to think about the next step, as preparation for making bold forward strides.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Focus on Health Esteem Instead of Resolutions!,” TheFitClubNetwork.com, 12/29/22

How Is Your Health Esteem?

World Health Esteem Month, according to a calendar website, has been “observed the month of January since 2023.” In other words, it seems to be a brand-new project, or maybe this is just the first time somebody has registered it with a calendar of National or World Days, Weeks or Months. Also, the event does not currently have a sponsor, so anyone can jump on board.

Further searching reveals that apparently none of the holidays listed (by a company that sells national holiday calendars) has a sponsor. But leaving that aside, there is more to know about it, chiefly from the Fit Club Network, and the explanation is pretty solid.

Heard it all before

Everyone knows that New Year’s resolutions are a joke, but Coach Dave, who is the co-founder of the Fit Club Network, takes the more polite route, merely pointing out that such resolutions are not sustainable, and furthermore, can be “destructive at their core.” Let us not burden ourselves with goals that will turn out to be overwhelming or impossible. We can decide not to continue on a course that leads to deprivation, guilt, and eventual failure.

As it turns out, to practice Health Esteem is just a positive mindset, that’s all — a mindset that is learnable and doable and that “makes better choices come naturally.” Dave writes,

No more working out because we’re unsatisfied with ourselves. The “health esteem” mindset is that we exercise because we value ourselves. No more making food choices to punish ourselves. The “health esteem” mindset is that we eat better to take care of ourselves. It simply requires paying attention and slowly working on creating new healthier habits.

What are some of these simple yet effective daily choices and useful practices? The rules themselves are pretty self-evident.

1. Wake up on the first alarm
2. Do the hardest thing first
3. Make time to eat breakfast
4. Replace “dirty” energy with “clean” energy
5. Plan lunch the day before
6. Swap afternoon treats for “superfood desserts”
7. Give energy
8. Take time for a post-work reflection
9. Slow dinner down
10. No Screens 30 minutes before bed

The “dirty” and “clean” energy references are to junk food versus fresh veggies and the like. Planning lunch ahead of time is a little insurance policy to keep ourselves from going all spontaneous, and then regretting it later. #8 encourages us to look back on the day, and give ourselves credit for accomplishments, and look forward to what we are excited about discovering tomorrow. #10, the avoidance of electronic screens at bedtime, is something we have been warned about many times before.

It’s a real thing… The blue light and mental distractions from phones, TV, and computers right before bed disrupt your sleep cycle, which decreases your “health esteem.” Try connecting with someone around you, reading, journaling, meditating, or stepping outside and soaking up the night sky.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “World Health Esteem Month,” Checkiday.com, undated
Source: “Focus on Health Esteem Instead of Resolutions!,” TheFitClubNetwork.com, 12/29/22
Image by Quinn Dombrowski/CC BY-SA 2.0

New Findings Revive Controversy

One of the ongoing debates in the obesity world is whether anyone can really reduce their body weight effectively and, most of all, lastingly. A couple of interesting stories came out last year about research that might turn out to be game-changing. The traditional pattern is that some attempts work for some people, some of the time, and nothing works for everybody all of the time. That includes what are considered to be the two major factors, diet and exercise. Then, this happened:

Scientists from Baylor College of Medicine and other institutions have proposed an explanation: Obesity is actually a neurodevelopmental disorder… If that is true, people could be predisposed to being obese…

The familiar backstory is that obese expectant moms are more likely than slim ones to suffer such complications as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and miscarriage. They also tend to bear children prone not only to obesity, but to asthma, growth problems, and assorted congenital disorders. OB-GYN specialist Dr. Cindy Celnik told a reporter, “We think that what’s happening in utero is that nutritional excess […] can lead to permanent changes in the metabolic pathways of your child.”

The Baylor paper, published by Science Advances in September, suggests that brain development makes a big difference in whether a person becomes obese. The study’s first author, the behavioral scientist Dr. Harry MacKay, says,

It’s difficult to lose weight because you’re fighting against stuff that was ingrained in your brain’s architecture.

It looks like that probably occurs during the fetus’ late developmental stages, but nobody really knows for sure. Despite not knowing everything, the science is pretty definite about the idea that obese mothers will have kids who tend toward obesity in addition to other problems. Talking about “developmental programming, Dr. MacKay estimates that body weight is likely determined half by genetics, and half by other factors, and “it’s likely that brain development plays a significant role.” He is quoted as saying,

Whatever it is that establishes your kind of ‘target body weight,’ or your appetite, or whatever you want to call it, it has to be something that happens early, before you really have a lot of control over it. Because it’s just so pervasive, it’s so hard to resist once it’s set.

Of course, this recalls the often-disparaged notion that there is a “set point” for each body, which it stubbornly clings to and insists on maintaining despite the person’s best efforts to shed pounds. Journalist Evan MacDonald explains,

The researchers focused on a region of the brain called the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, which acts as a “master regulator” influencing appetite, metabolism and the energy available for physical activity. They discovered the arcuate nucleus undergoes extensive epigenetic programming — or changes in the way genes work — during a mouse’s suckling period, and is also very sensitive to developmental programming of body weight regulation.

In the U.S., the sheer number of obese adults has tripled since 1975. That basically equates to at least 42% of adults being classified as obese. Baylor’s Dr. Robert Waterland said, “If maternal obesity actually promotes obesity in children, then what happens over generation after generation is that this is just going to snowball and get increasingly worse.” Apparently, the snowball effect has already taken firm hold.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Baylor scientists believe obesity should be considered a neurodevelopmental disorder,” HoustonChronicle.com, 10/04/22
Image by Pete/Public Domain

P.E.T. and Taking Advantage of Inclinations

This page has touched on the subjects of parental attitudes and demeanor toward their children. Even the most well-intentioned parents sometimes fail, and some have the humility to go back to school about it. One elegant non-violent management tool, popularized by Dr. Thomas Gordon’s Parent Effectiveness Training, is to offer limited alternatives.

For at least a certain number of years, parents are in a position to offer limited choices. By not keeping SSBs (sugar-sweetened beverages) in the home, you avoid a half-hour-long wrangle over whether a bottle in the fridge may be opened or not. Parents who offer the choice of plain water or cucumber water can entertain the possibility that their kids will get used to it.

Play it clever

Avoid asking, for instance, “What veggie do you want?” An open-ended question leads to a lot of wasted breath on both sides, and while kids might have time for that, one parent has dinner to make, and the other needs to check a couple of things under the hood of the car. The people who want supper are told, “You can have carrots. Or you can have spinach.” A child with spirit will try the old “What if I want both?” gag.

Picture this: The parent looks thoughtful, as if giving this proposition detailed consideration. Then, the parent appears impressed and taken aback by the cleverness of it all, and replies “Both? Well… I guess so…” It’s a classic win-win situation. The child feels like he’s gotten away with something, and the parent sees both spinach and carrots being consumed.

A lot of times, with a kid, their smarty-pants retort should not be interpreted as defiance or disrespect. A child’s attempt at humor very often reveals an underlying wish to reach a compromise without feeling defeated. The willingness to be playful, even in a sarcastic way, shows an inclination toward reasonableness, as long as they don’t feel coerced. When parents can play along with an immature sense of humor, they have a viable chance of exerting some influence. (That is not canonical Gordon, by the way, but an extrapolation on a destination that might be reached by trying out his suggestions.)

Wrong turn

This familial jocularity cannot flourish if the parent has a mean streak. Nobody needs a grownup to say disparaging things like “Oh, so today, you want plain water. What’s the matter, is the cuke water too strong for you?”

Many parents feel the impulse to discard any attempt at nuance, and just let their authoritarian streak take over. There is another way to look at it. If your friend was doing something you thought was dumb, wouldn’t you try to think of some halfway classy, dignified, or even humorous way to alert him that his mustache looks ridiculous? Why treat a child more rudely than you would treat a friend? That same basic impulse, to treat a child like a fellow human being, underlies a large part of Dr. Gordon’s work.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.),” GordonTraining.com, undated
Image by theilr/CC BY-SA 2.0

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

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