obesity

You talk, I'll listen, on food and weight issues

In conjunction with Kick Sugar Addiction World Summit 2017 (link to the 2016 event), I'm offering a free food and weight consultation to you, or to anyone you know. We'll talk for 30 minutes, via phone, Skype, or other electronic conveyance, about the struggles you face, and what I can contribute to your overcoming them.


Environment or personal choice: Pick one?

For all the time that humans have been afoot, we have been adjusting to “the environment,” very often on the fly, very often in the face of peril. So it’s risible that a study just released by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery asked respondents to opine on the cause of obesity: personal choice or environment and genetics.


New York Levies $1.6 Million Penalty for Wrongly Denied Eating Disorders Coverage

[This is a press release from the National Eating Disorders Association. I don't typical just "rip and run" press releases, but I am for this, which I consider important and significant.]

NEW YORK CITY, Aug. 24 — The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) applauds New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and the New York Health Care Bureau for the milestone, mental health-parity decision announced yesterday, which awards a $1.6 million settlement against Buffalo-based HealthNow, New York, Inc.


Not all weight discussion is fat-shaming

I’m fond of Al Lewis, but we don’t always agree. In this HuffPost column, which I’m just catching up on, he equates all efforts to address obesity within wellness programs as fat-shaming. And that’s just overstatement born of inadequate understanding.

It’s OK, Al, I’m here to help, in the spirit of sharing.


On childhood obesity, acting and not acting are both choices

In two prior posts, I’ve agreed with influential blogger Morgan Downey that the proposal in Puerto Rico to fine the parents of obese children is a bad idea, and that the food environment has a great deal to do with the globesity crisis.

But I balked at the implication that parents don’t have primary responsibility for obese children. I wouldn’t have said so before 5 or 10 years ago — because I didn’t get it — but now it’s clear: incorporating fitness and nutrition into children’s worldview is a basic ingredient of child protection.

If fines aren’t the right tack, though, what can be done collectively? I usually fail, but I’ll try to be brief. Clearly, the basic choices are to act or not to act.


Parents must protect against the food environment

In a recent post, I reacted to writer Morgan Downey’s mockery of a ham-handed suggestion in Puerto Rico to fine parents whose children are obese.  I think the suggestion is not helpful, but I objected to Downey’s giving not even a nod to the fact that parents do have a huge role in how kids learn to eat.

Downey focused his prescription on the food environment, and though we agree on its potency, I would put the onus on parents here, too, in part because in this world, a crucial role for parents is to educate their kids about media excesses — which is to say, “media.”


Fines for child obesity are a bad idea, but...

"Puerto Rico doesn’t have the answer" is the headline of Morgan Downey’s recent post about an island proposal to fine parents whose children are obese. Worst idea ever, he says.

Right up front: I don’t want to fine parents of obese kids either. Bad idea, in every way. But the post has enough meat to chew on that it’s worth checking in anyway. Here’s Downey’s comment upon disclosing the idea:

"Oh, that will help! 'Parents: Starve your children and you save a few bucks!' Wow, what a deal! That will overcome the cries of hungry children.”

I’ll dispense with the dumb crap before getting to the worthwhile issue: Starvation? Cries of hungry children? Is there no middle ground between starvation and obesity? One doesn’t starve children into good health, any more than one does to overfeed, or poorly feed, or exercise no control over food choices.


What's a penalty, and what's an incentive?

A vital issue brought up by the Affordable Care Act is whether employers can penalize employees who decline to take part in wellness offerings. Some consider it a civil rights issue if companies penalize employees who won’t act that way their employer wants them to.

I see that some could see it as an issue, but I hesitate to agree.


Dr. Pamela Peeke: "You have to be a mentor and a model. There can be no hypocrisy."

   Welcome to another episode of “10 Words or Less,” in which I ask brief questions of interesting people, and ask for brief answers in return. Usually, I can describe the guests in a phrase or two, but with Pamela Peeke, today’s guest, I barely know where to begin:
   She’s a doctor, and I start there only because she did. But she’s also an assistant clinical professor in medicine at the University of Maryland, was a Pew Foundation scholar in nutrition and metabolism during a post-doc fellowship, and the first physician to be a senior research fellow at the National Institutes of Health Office of Alternative Medicine.
   That oughta be enough, but she’s also WebMD’s lifestyle expert, and chief medical correspondent for Discovery Health TV, and a New York Times best-selling author whose latest book is "The Hunger Fix: The Three-Stage Detox and Recovery Plan for Overeating and Food Addiction.”
   Dr. Peeke is also senior science advisor to Elements Behavioral Health, the nation's largest residential addiction treatment network, where she has developed their first residential program to treat food and addiction. Her work was recently seen on the "Today Show" profiling her work with the Promises Malibu Vista center.
   I should also mention, although It’s barely a hill among all these mountains, that Dr. Peeke has blogged about me and my book, “Fat Boy Thin Man," a couple of times, and we had dinner together with other friends after the recent food-addiction conference sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Dr. Pamela Peeke, author of "The Hunger Fix"After that long list of credentials, I have to ask: Don’t you ever get tired? " They say that if you love what you’re doing, you’ll never work a day in your life. That’s me.”
Born when and where "The when will never be disclosed, but I’m a Senior Olympian triathlete, so I have to be over 50. And I was born in San Francisco, California."
Resides now Bethesda, Maryland
Family circumstance "Married, Mark is my handsome hubby. He comes from the land of law enforcement. He was SWAT, executive protection, and crimes systems analyst like the guys on CSI. We’re known as cop and doc.
What did you want to be when you grew up? "It already happened. Is that 10 words or less?"
A news event from childhood that left an impression "JFK’s assassination. I remember exactly where I was, singing in the choir at St. Brendan’s. As young as I was, I cried too, because JFK was a very important icon in our family.
"Your first paying job "That would be with my parents. They owned their own companies, and I actually got a little something for working for them. I helped keep the books. ‘Zero Equals Zero’ was my middle name."
Wisdom you retain from that job "The value of work. I was never given anything. I never felt entitled. I felt it was important to be able to show effort and be rewarded for that effort.
Someone outside your family who was a strong influence "Dr. Henrik Blum at the University of California at Berkeley. He was one of the great names in the school of public health. I met him early on, and became kind of his quasi daughter. He helped guide me as an undergraduate. When I became a graduate student with him, where I got my master’s in public health, he was an incredibly important mentor and I suppose a father figure as well."


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