The New Drugs and Unforeseen Consequences

It might be useful to review the things that are known, suspected, or feared, about the new weight-loss drugs. Of course, they are not all the same, or else why even bother to create a different formula? The point is, it really pays to check out the potential side effects of the various possibilities, before making an appointment with a physician. A person might come across some surprising information and decide, without further ado, to give the medication idea a pass.

The stuff works by slowing gastric emptying, to preserve the sensation of fullness. By now, probably everyone has heard about a widely discussed problem:

[S]ide effects of Ozempic, Wegovy and other members of the class have been linked to serious stomach risks, including gastroparesis or stomach paralysis, which can result in severe and long-term gastrointestinal damage.

An article by Irvin Jackson lists 13 unpleasant consequences of being on semaglutide. Worse, some folks are having miserable side effects even after discontinuing the meds. A discouraging number of lawsuits are currently underway, with potentially thousands more waiting in the wings.

Whether Ozempic was prescribed because of diabetes or for weight loss, if elective surgery is on a person’s schedule, the drug should probably be discontinued at least a week beforehand. In fact, the Mayo Clinic and other prominent medical establishments have come out in favor of quitting semaglutide three whole weeks before surgery. Its job is to empty the stomach slowly, but nobody should be on an operating table with anything in their stomach. Jackson writes,

In late June, the American Society of Anesthesiologists […] warned against using the drugs before elective surgery, due to the risk of vomiting and aspiration during anesthesia.

Skipping it for even that one day could save a life. While the chance of fatality is not huge, neither is it non-existent, and if the temporary cessation of the drug does not seem like enough of a precaution, the surgical team can opt to have the patient intubated for even a minor procedure, which adds not only safety but also discomfort and complication.

As if that weren’t enough, at a semaglutide factory in North Carolina, apparently slipshod quality control has led to government inspectors finding “objectionable organisms” in batches of the drug, and to elevated concerns about microbial contamination on the premises in general.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: Ozempic Stomach Risks Result in Debate Among Anesthesiologists Over Surgery Guidelines,”, 09/13/23
Source: Microbial Contaminant Control Problems at Ozempic Manufacturing Facility Has Resulted in FDA Investigator Warning,”, 09/20/23
Image by Craig Howell/CC BY 2.0 DEED

Induced Gambling Addiction

Published about a decade ago by Princeton University Press, anthropologist Natasha Dow Schüll’s Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas is the result of 15 years of field research in one of the gaming capitals of the world.

The book, which is said to “change the dialog” on gambling addiction, has either won or come close to winning some important awards, and has been translated into Italian, Japanese, and French. One reviewer praises how it makes academic scholarship accessible to the average reader, while another suggests that it is not so much a book, as a tool.

The author examines the moral, social, and emotional ramifications of a certain genre of electronic games and proposes that just as some people are more prone to addiction than others, “it is also the case that some objects, by virtue of their unique pharmacologic or structural characteristics, are more likely than others to trigger or accelerate an addiction.” The work looks at the many possible types of screen addiction, all of which are combined in gambling machines.

Out with the old

No longer are traditional games the main draw at casinos. What people want are the modernized slot machines that offer what the author calls an “appealing parallel universe” where they can forget about mundane life. The play is solitary, fast, continuous, and utterly compelling — and it is not even about winning. No, at the center of this addiction is what reviewer Emily Martin calls “the imperative some people feel to lose themselves in a machine.”

They long to get into “the machine zone” or simply “the zone,” a trance-like state of consciousness that appears to be the main reward pursued by the adherents to this pastime. There they remain “until all resources are gone;” in other words, until they are stony broke.

On the addiction front, this is radically different from person-to-person games like poker played around a table, because cardsharps need to be hyper-aware of humans. That awareness is at least a skill that can be learned with experience, whereas the machines never offer a leg up. Experience is of no consequence, and the player throws herself or himself blindly, every time, into the abyss of chance.

In with the new

In what Laura Norén of PublicBooks calls “an empirically rigorous examination of users, designers, and objects that deepens practical and philosophical questions about the capacities of players interacting with machines designed to entrance them,” Schüll explores the dark side of both the players’ compulsions and the manufacturers’ goals. In regard to the former, much of the research was carried out at Gamblers Anonymous meetings.

An echo is to be found here of the substance-based food addiction theory versus the behavior-based eating addiction theory. The page speaks of “regulatory debates over whether addiction to slot machines stems from the consumer, the product, or the interplay between the two. ”

In what Noren characterizes as a horror story, the customers are mainly “problem gamblers” whose losses account for between 30% and 60% of the casino’s income. Such individuals tend to have traumatic experiences in their pasts, and to binge until their pockets are empty. She goes on to say, “[T]here is something devilish about the way designers’ intentions and users’ neurology meet up to make video gaming so devastating for some and so profitable for others.”

Even in the 1990s, when Schüll did research, the victims of table games, horse racing, and lotteries were in the minority, and Gamblers Anonymous meetings were mainly populated by machine addicts. By the turn of the century, it was estimated that 85% of the gambling industry’s profits accrued from video gaming. Today, those in the know make a pretty serious claim — that the recidivism rate for gambling is higher than the rate attached to any other addiction.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Natasha Dow Schüll,”, undated
Source: “Can objects be evil? A review of ‘Addiction by Design’,”, 09/06/12
Image by AisforAmy91/CC BY-ND 2.0 DEED

Continuing Lifestyle Intervention, Part 4

The previous post discussed the run-up to bariatric surgery. because both before and after surgery, lifestyle interventions will be the patient’s new reality. The whole point is to make lifestyle interventions become the lifestyle, and to accomplish that is a lot more difficult than it sounds.

This brings up a quotation from a recent paper with the imposing title, “Effects of Lifestyle and Educational Bridging Programs before Bariatric Surgery on Postoperative Weight Loss: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” A rather chilling assessment undermines basic assumptions concerning the safety and efficacy of such procedures:

[A]lthough preoperative lifestyle interventions reduce body weight before bariatric surgery more effectively than usual care, this difference disappears 1 year post-surgery… [I]t is currently unclear whether, and if so under what circumstances, participation in a preoperative lifestyle intervention is beneficial.

Of course, the implication here is that if pre-op lifestyle intervention is useless, then maybe post-op lifestyle intervention is futile too, and so is any other kind of attempt to improve the situation. It is very dreary to contemplate. Which leads to another assertion made in this document:

Secondary outcomes and psychological well-being are rarely investigated.

It seems that the way to make a real mark in this field would be to vigorously investigate secondary outcomes and psychological well-being.

After bariatric surgery

The Ochsner Clinic, which offers both the adjustable gastric band (LAGB) and the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRGBY) laparoscopic procedures, describes its method:

During the period of weight loss, we closely observe our patients; we then follow up with them once a year. During these visits, patients commonly have appointments with multiple persons on the bariatric team, including the surgeon, a physician extender, a registered dietician, and/or a mental health care provider, depending on the needs of each patient.

To this institution’s credit, it acknowledges that in the early post-operative stage, due to the “extreme and instant” lifestyle changes, patients tend to be in emotional turmoil. In light of that, once a year doesn’t somehow seem like enough in-touch-keeping. Of course, another section says a patient should report back “at the earliest signs of weight regain” because the sooner, the better.

A thought experiment

This description applies to post-op bariatric patients, but how many of these reactions, or very similar ones, might be let loose by the GLP-1 drugs?

Depression and anxiety medications should be continued for at least the first 6 months. Symptoms of depression should be monitored closely at the first few appointments… If patients were previous stress eaters and become stressed after surgery, they no longer have the ability to eat for stress relief.

Medications for all weight loss patients need to be in crushed, liquid, or chewable forms during the first 6 months for LRGBY and for the patient’s lifetime after LAGB. The use of whole medications may lead to ulceration as they sit in the stomach pouch or pouch enlargement.

Many patients also experience changes in their social scenes, as many American holidays are centered on a big meal. The way patients interact with the significant people in their lives changes dramatically, and their social structure can be irreparably broken.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Effects of Lifestyle and Educational Bridging Programs before Bariatric Surgery on Postoperative Weight Loss: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,”, 10/07/22
Source: “Long-term Management of Patients After Weight Loss Surgery,”, Fall 2009
Image by Joel Kramer/CC BY 2.0

Continuing Lifestyle Intervention, Part 3

The broad question under consideration here is whether the GLP-1 drugs in their various manifestations will cure obesity once and for all, and particularly whether they can possibly do so in the absence of continuing lifestyle intervention.

For comparison purposes, and to attempt to predict what the case will be with the new drugs, it is helpful to review the facts surrounding what was, up until recently, considered the last, best hope. Before these revolutionary new medications arrived, bariatric surgery was seen as the ultimate solution. That modality entails much preparation and extensive post-operative followup care.

Most importantly, and perhaps too often overlooked by optimists, this particular type of surgery requires a ton of consistent compliance at every stage — most essentially, the stage known as “the rest of the patient’s life.” This is where lifestyle intervention succeeds or fails.

As we have seen, the fundamentals of lifestyle medicine include appropriate nutrition, frequent physical activity, effective stress management, quality sleep, the maintenance of satisfactory social connections, and steering clear of risky substances (be they food, alcohol, drugs, or whatever.) That last part encompasses not only substances but in the case of non-substance addictions like gambling, requires the active and diligent avoidance of cues that trigger addictive behaviors.

A healthy, well-functioning person who wants to remain that way needs all these “pillars” to hold up the magnificent edifice of their recovery. A person with a problem needs to stay on top of every aspect of those conditions, every hour of every day, into infinity.

Grim odds

The prospect is not an encouraging one. The statistics on weight regain one year after surgery are alarming, and the harm does not stop there. The pounds continue to pile back on. Even under ideal circumstances and optimal conditions, surgery alone is not a fix.

The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) says, “Patients, on average, return to their baseline weight within 4-5 years.” Numbers like this encouraged the AGA to review its Obesity Guidelines and conclude that good isn’t good enough. The group called current practices “usual care or minimal treatment,” and recommended that a comprehensive maintenance program become the norm.

Childhood Obesity News has talked before about preparation for bariatric surgery. The expectations include such lifestyle changes as weight loss, smoking cessation, restricted diet, counseling, and maybe even exercise. The patient will probably burn off some calories fighting with their insurer.

The overall picture is daunting. Yet even people who go through all that aggro in order to qualify for surgery, can somehow not find it within themselves to get with a program and stick with a program. Apparently, that is the only way to maintain a healthy weight.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Intensive Lifestyle Intervention for Obesity: Principles, Practices, and Results,”, May 2017
Image by Hernán Piñera/CC BY-SA 2.0

Continuing Lifestyle Intervention, Part 2

There are said to be six “pillars” of lifestyle medicine: “plant-based nutrition, physical activity, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, restorative sleep, and social connections.” According to the same source, lifestyle medicine itself (familiarly known as LM)…

[…] is a medical specialty that primarily uses lifestyle changes to treat chronic diseases. It is an evidence-based practice that helps individuals and their families implement and maintain healthy behaviors impacting the quality of life.

Lifestyle medicine is definitely not an afterthought or an inconsequential footnote to treatment. All the six types of intervention are important, and this is certainly true of recovery from obesity, and avoidance of its return.

What does the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) say? That organization, like so many others, has developed a set of guidelines for weight loss, to encompass a minimum of six months of intensive lifestyle interventions in three areas: reduced-calorie diet, increased physical activity, and behavior therapy.

This boils down to eating in a way that brings in 500 to 750 fewer calories per day than the individual had been accustomed to consuming. Physical activity should be 150 minutes, or better yet, 180 minutes of aerobic activity each week. Here is an interesting detail: “Physical activity alone, however, contributes minimally.”

Acknowledged as key is behavioral therapy, “which provides a set of strategies and techniques to modify diet and physical activity patterns.” Strategy is a thing that most of us might have trouble putting together on our own, but with guidance, we come to understand that self-monitoring is an excellent tactic. As the AGA says, “technological advances provide new ways for patients to self-monitor.”

A vital ingredient

This group’s definition of short-term intensive lifestyle intervention includes “16 individual, on-site counseling sessions with a registered dietitian in the first 6 months.” Psychologists have long noted that personal contact and attention have a strong effect, and this will continue to be true no matter how much assistive technology is added to the arsenal.

The AGA also has an agenda for long-term maintenance, because after six months or even a year of intensive lifestyle intervention, weight regain is widely and regrettably common. According to AGA,

With no further treatment (or with infrequent follow-up meetings) patients typically regain one third of lost weight in the first follow-up year, with continuing weight gain thereafter. Patients, on average, return to their baseline weight within 4-5 years.

By the way, readers of Childhood Obesity News are familiar with two programs that include the means for self-monitoring, and so much more — W8Loss2Go and BrainWeighve.

More on this subject is coming up, but until next time, let us leave readers with this thought: Seriously, a person could look around (including a glance into a mirror) and wonder, “Is there anyone I know who couldn’t use a little bit of lifestyle intervention?

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “The Impact of the Six Pillars of Lifestyle Medicine on Brain Health,”, 02/03/23
Source: “Intensive Lifestyle Intervention for Obesity: Principles, Practices, and Results,”, May 2017
Image by watchsmart/CC BY 2.0

Continuing Lifestyle Intervention, Part 1

We have been looking at the idea that the need for lifestyle intervention of some kind might be necessary throughout life. There is nothing wrong with that. Take religion, for instance. No devout believer of any variety would say, “My relationship with God is just a temporary thing, to help me get through a difficult time. But the day will come when I won’t need that connection anymore.”

If something in a person’s life helps to overcome challenges, treat fellow beings with lovingkindness, and become one’s best possible self, why on earth would anyone want to step in and say, “Yeah, but one of these days you’ll have to learn how to make it on your own”?

Take the simplest and most elementary kind of lifestyle practice, and one that is widely recommended: journaling. To take a daily inventory, in the morning or at night or both, and jot down some important realizations and intentions, is a very useful practice. To reference formal religion again, one purpose of morning prayer is to ask the higher power, “Please help me not mess up too badly today.” One purpose of evening prayer is to say, “Thank you for understanding today’s mistakes, and I’ll do better tomorrow.”

The secular version is to stay committed to some kind of structured accountability system. (And yes, a person could do both if that is what works.) Why would any supposed authority feel entitled to announce, “That won’t be needed anymore”? For some third party to step in and decree that there is no further need for either a supreme being or a lifestyle that helps a lot and does no harm — well, it would just be silly. And of course, no responsible medical practitioner would tell a patient with diabetes, “That insulin stuff is fine for now, but eventually you will have to learn to cope without it.”

Back to the question at hand

Practically every inhabitant of the planet has heard about the success of, and demand for, the drugs that have been receiving such rampant publicity — and that will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. It’s a whole new genre of weight loss medications, so what should we expect in terms of their ability to do the job alone? Many enthusiasts are dismayed to find that maybe a prescription cannot carry the whole load, for myriad reasons. For instance, no matter how efficient the medications may be, people are still people.

Take the example of bariatric surgery. Effective as it can be for a great number of dangerously obese people, there are always the few who manage to mess it up. It’s as if they are determined to prove how successfully the stomach can be either stretched or ruptured, whichever comes first. This would be a good time to look into how continuing lifestyle intervention pairs up with surgical intervention.

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Image by Jernej Furman/CC BY 2.0

New Drugs — Does Lifestyle Intervention Still Count? Part 8

Just by the very nature of contemporary life, mental health treatment is not often conducted in person. Apps and devices that monitor physical vital signs have been around for a long time, and now increasingly all kinds of care are administered online or through smartphones. An incredible number of quite respectable podcasts are sponsored by a company that connects potential clients with therapists and facilitates change if the first match is not satisfactory.

Meanwhile, more troubled people come to understand that the day may never come when they will be “fixed.” They may continue to need an impartial listening ear, at least occasionally. Sometimes a person can sail along for years, but then an accident or physical illness may happen, or the death of someone close. When a new relationship begins or an old one ends, a person often needs extra support.

Some people benefit from help for the rest of their lives, and there is nothing wrong with that. We don’t blame people with diabetes for continuing to need insulin, and we don’t blame people who need long-term mental health support. This is especially true of those who aspire to more than just not being sick. For people who want to continue to get better, and then even better than that, there is no limit.

It’s a lifestyle

In an earlier post, we talked about how important it is for a treatment program to embrace every part of life — family, peers, work relationships, and the larger community — as well as a person’s spiritual foundation and ethical standards. Now to any of these factors, add the continuing and ongoing need to manage a substance abuse tendency, whatever that substance may be.

A recent Childhood Obesity News post quoted a man who says, “I spend five hours a day minimum working on staying sober for that day.” Daily attendance at a meeting, for instance, is a definitive lifestyle intervention, and for some people, that’s what it takes.

The quirks of addicts

Author and late-night TV personality Alexander King, who was popular more than half a century ago, had been incarcerated in the federal addiction recovery center in Lexington, Kentucky. While in withdrawal himself, King watched a fellow inmate kneel by his bed as if in prayer, and prepare a hypodermic needle, tie off his arm, and inject a shot of heroin into the vein — all just expertly mimed, of course. The haunting glimpse into another’s sickness made a lasting impression, and King included it later in Mine Enemy Grows Older, one of several best-selling autobiographical volumes.

More recently, for Medium, Eric Allen Been interviewed Judith Grisel about her book, Never Enough, which is pretty much the motto of all addicts everywhere since the beginning of time. Unlike many addicts, however, Grisel has been “clean and sober” for more than three decades, during which time she became a professor of psychology and neuroscience.

When her interviewer suggested that many heroin addicts are addicted not just to the drug, but to the process, “the ritual of being dopesick, scoring, shooting up, etc,” Grisel replied,

Craving is to a point kind of fun. I think the paraphernalia, the bag in your pocket, all those things elicit a sort of anticipatory wide-awake brain state.

Confirming this, comedian Joey Diaz talked on a podcast (reference unavailable) about how the happiest he ever was, was in the car on his way to score (buy cocaine) and then while driving home with it.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “A Neuroscientist Explores Addiction, the Brain, and Her Past,”, 03/05/10
Image by Robert Miller/CC BY 2.0 DEED

Happy Veterans Days!

Monday, November 13, is Veterans Day Observed. We will return with a regular post on Tuesday, November 14.

Happy Veterans Day!

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

How to Help an Addict

A lot of addicts can analyze their condition with a thoroughness that a combination psychiatrist/novelist would admire. Sadly though, as Werner Erhard pointed out, “Understanding is the booby prize.” One of life’s horrible ironies is that a person can thoroughly understand how they got so messed up, and still not be able to get out of the mess.

Writer Sam Grittner wrote a piece about addiction for Medium, hoping to convey to caring friends exactly what the addict is up against. There is a voice inside such a person that never takes a break from telling them how worthless they are. It taunts the person from the farthest reaches of a remote canyon. He describes the sensation of trying to fill a gigantic hole with substances, in the hope that eventually it will work, and will let the addict at last feel worthy and at peace. But…

For someone like me, there’s simply no such thing as enough.

Food wasn’t even his problem, but you can see where that analogy of trying to fill a yawning, gaping chasm would be particularly apt in the case of someone whose problem is food, who is fooled into thinking that their stomach is the hole they’re trying to fill. The really funny part, however, is that with alcohol it doesn’t even take a big amount to do enormous damage. One drink can unravel months or years of abstinence. “All it takes is one. One of anything…” Grittner writes,

Getting sober is incredibly hard. Staying sober feels impossible most days. Trying to get sober again after a relapse is like trying to punch a volcano into submission.

Grittner points out that nobody chooses to become an addict, although once that happens, the disease will convince them that the condition was always inevitable, and that escape is futile. Addiction can talk a person into doing anything. For example, he says, “It will convince you to sell everything you own, to walk through fire, to fight entire armies…”

For something that makes sense to overeaters, addiction will convince a person that they can’t even begin to think about changing their life until prepared and fortified by eating another whole pie. Nobody should be expected to consider weighty matters or make important decisions without a full tank of fuel. After all, to even think about such a weighty matter, the brain needs fuel too… and on and on. Grittner writes,

Addiction doesn’t care how much money you have, where you were born, or what your last name is. All it wants is for you to consume, to try and fill a black hole that is insatiable beyond anything you can imagine. It wants you to isolate, cut off friends and family, and ultimately, it doesn’t care if you live or die.

Speaking of friends and family members, the most important thing to do for an addict is not to judge, even after all the lies and the stealing and the broken promises and shattered illusions. Leave judgment aside and let the person know you’re standing by with empathy and love, even though you don’t understand exactly what they’re going through.

All you can ever really do is help them get through one more day without using, because all they can ever really do is get through one more day. As Grittner says,

I spend five hours a day minimum working on staying sober for that day. It is exhausting…

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Addiction,”, 07/24/18
Image by airpix/CC BY 2.0 DEED

In Search of Addiction’s Roots, Part 8

One of the murkier areas of addiction theory is how it relates to the basic biological drives inherent in an organism. Dr. Pretlow has speculated about this:

Displacement behavior represents a bio-behavioral mechanism that essentially allows an animal to displace stress. Theoretically, the mechanism rechannels overflow mental energy built up by the brain’s attempt either to deal with or to avoid the stressful situation. The energy rechanneling occurs to another behavior or drive (e.g., grooming drive), typically whatever drive or behavior is the most readily available.

It has been suggested that with alcohol addiction, this has to do with thirst drive or swallowing drive. This would seem to imply that people drink beer and liquor because they don’t realize that all they really want, deep inside, is a drink of water.

Still, that would not explain the compulsion to keep swallowing until the condition of falling-down drunkenness is reached. How about the possibility of an epigenetic angle to the preference for alcohol? Throughout much of human history, clean water has been unobtainable for many people. They drank beer or wine to avoid contagion because those beverages did not contain microscopic organisms to make them actually sick.

But really, in the modern era, it is more likely that people drink alcohol for the simple reason that they just want to get wasted. This suggests a note of hope, because maybe they can save themselves, as many have, by discovering something they enjoy even more than getting wasted.


While gambling has similarities to other addictions, there are glaring differences. For one, it doesn’t involve the molecules of any substances entering the body. Gambling addiction could be displacement to the foraging drive. That’s a tough call because there is a big overlap with video game addiction, where it has been posited that the displacement is from the hunting drive because projectiles are shot at targets.

A cynic has suggested that there is no connection with the more basic animalistic drives at all. The desire to be right, and especially to be provably right, is an intensely strong human drive. It might be that video gaming appeals to higher-level drives that are only present in humans — like the drive to prove oneself smarter than another person, or even to just prove one’s own cleverness to oneself.

There are many kinds of video games, not all violent, but quite captivating nonetheless. Kids play at home, where the worst outcome is being yelled at by parents to do some homework instead. Grownups, on the other hand, have the privilege of going out to places where they can play video games and lose the mortgage payment.

Some light might be thrown on this by checking out a book called Addiction by Design, whose author is Natasha Dow Schüll. Its essentials are mentioned in a review by Laura Noren.

The old romantic images of someone who hangs out at the race track all day or sits at a poker table all night, are dying out. According to those in the know (who attend the meetings of Gamblers Anonymous), betting on horse races, playing cards, or even buying lottery tickets are activities that have comparatively faded into the background. It is said that “problem gamblers,” generate 30% to 60% of the profits that casinos rake in.

And it’s not the table games that get them. Noren writes,

By the mid-1990s in Las Vegas […] the vast majority of people at Gamblers Anonymous meetings were addicted to machines… In 2003 it was estimated that 85 percent of industry profits nationally came from video gaming.

The surprising part is, for most of these addicts, the thrill is not even about the possibility of scoring a big, life-changing win. The users don’t need to wait for that big payoff, because they’re getting what they need right there, on the spot, with each little win that they are permitted. Noren writes,

Problem gamblers are attracted to the machines because they offer portals to an appealing parallel universe in which they can disconnect from the anxieties and pressures of everyday life… One player in a gambling support group compared video machines to crack cocaine, a comparison frequently repeated by researchers and psychologists. By some accounts, the recidivism rate is now higher for gambling than for any other addiction.

Dr. Pretlow has written,

In drug addiction, the displacement drive is unclear. Putting something into the body might be displacement to the sex drive?

Others would mention that there are many instances of animals eating psychoactive mushrooms, berries, and so forth, on purpose and with full knowledge from past experience of what they are getting. Some would say there is no mystery at all about why people put drugs into their bodies. They want to get high!

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “A Unified Theory of Addiction,”, 03/09/23
Source: “Can objects be evil? A review of ‘Addiction by Design’,”, 09/06/12
Image by Rennett Stowe/CC BY 2.0 DEED

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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