Welcome, Michelle

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I'm a little late to the party, but wanted to acknowledge Michelle Obama's joining the fight against childhood obesity, which she did last week. Her ability to focus attention on an issue is unique, and her focus on obesity is welcome. (I don't limit my own focus by age, but I don't mind if someone else does.)

Uncertain over problem eating

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Andre Braugher, right, eating as usual.Georgie and I have been watching, and enjoying, "Men of a Certain Age," the Ray Romano/Andre Braugher/Scott Bakula show on TNT. I think they have three believable characters, none of them perfect by any means, but textured, sympathetic, and believable.

But a plotline in the most recent episode stumbled a bit, on a topic I think worth raising.

What we can do, politically

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Few sweeping statements can be applied broadly, but here's one I'm willing to stand by: The first action any problem eater should consider is to take responsbility for what he or she eats, and look for support and help to change.That's what I did, albeit haltingly and irascibly, and I'm maintaining a 150-pound-plus weight loss for almost 20 years.

A comrade in the food wars

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I met up with a few new comrades at the Promising Practices in Food Addiction Recovery conference last weekend in Houston. One of them is Meredith Terpeluk, who works with problem eaters in South Bend, Ind. I expect I'll refer to her at least occasionally, by virture of her blog at

Pass the dish, hold the chemicals

Unless this is your first visit here, you know that I am convinced that food addiction exists, and that I reserve high dudgeon for the medical establishment for not understanding what I know to be true. (Feel free to make your own judgments about the know-it-all texture of that; I’m not unaware of them.)

They’ve recognized substance use disorders involving tobacco, alcohol, amphetamines, and myriad other chemical dependencies. But not food, not yet.

The sugar diet

I fear no contradiction when I say that if you don’t act insanely around food, then you know someone who does. That shouldn’t even stir contention in a nation where 2 of every 3 adults — 145 million of us — are considered overweight (defined as a body/mass index of between 25 and 30) or obese (a BMI over 30).

Here’s a window on that insanity, cited by Diane Rohrbach of Seattle, program director of Food Addiction Recovery Education, during her presentation at the Promising Practices in Food Addiction conference last weekend in Houston: The Cookie Diet. This is an actual product.

Just listen to what they say

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New York is contemplating a penny-per-ounce tax on sugared drinks. Here's how New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg justified his support to a state Senate committee:

“Today, more than half the residents of New York City, and nearly 40 percent of our public school students, are overweight, many of them seriously so. That puts them dangerously on track to contracting diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, depression, and other serious health problems later in their lives.

Fat as a partisan issue

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A study in the Journal of the American Medical Society, reviewing CDC figures, says that obesity has leveled off. Though it's based on data I accept as credible, I do have to say that what I see at the mall, at a ballgame, or at the airport, I still see a lot of overweight people. Maybe I'm just looking for them, based on my sensitivities.

But what made me want to comment is this:

But for the Democracy Institute, a free market think tank, the new data in the JAMA exposes the myth of the obesity epidemic.

Public appearance

The second annual conference on "Promising Practices in Food Addiction Recovery" will be at the end of the month in Houston. The focus this year will be on assessment — refining how the standards measures of addiction can be recognized in problem eaters.

Sponsors include Kay Sheppard, Renaissance Nutrition Center, Turning Point of Tampa, Shades of Hope Treatment Center of Texas, Milestones Eating Disorders Program of Miami, and ACORN Food Dependency Recovery Services of Sarasota. Essentially, these are the, uh, heavyweights of food addiction treatment.


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