What Causes Childhood Obesity? – Part 2

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As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.

Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.

I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.

Keeping Kids Fit
Opinion: Dr. Dan Kirschenbaum

Those who struggle with weight problems are struggling with a disease of prosperity. In countries with an abundance of riches, children tend to become incredibly sedentary. Smarter and smarter phones lead to less and less movement, with some studies showing many hundreds of texts per month as the norm for teenage communication, for example. Couple sedentary living with an obesogenic food environment and you get a recipe for obesity among those who are biologically prone to develop it.

Although this may seem radical, it is also a simple solution. If parents aimed to eliminate fat in their diets, in their homes, that could have dramatically positive effects on preventing obesity and even help reduce excess weight. A zero fat goal would be an aspirational goal. No one would achieve it, but just striving for it would promote eating of very low fat foods (e.g., fruits and vegetables; lean meats; fat free cheeses and other tasty products). The programs I’ve helped develop, Wellspring Camps and Academies – and Wellspring Journey (a self-help groups initiative), we also emphasize another eating principle, “Find lovable foods that love you back.” This encourages weight controllers to aim for very little fat, but also to try to find very low fat foods that they really like. Deprivation does not facilitate lifestyle change.

Dr. Dan Kirschenbaum, Wellspring