Last Pitch Effort: Forget IT, what about the fat kids?

Last Pitch Effort is an occasional look at media relations strategies gone awry.

From: Jay Wilke
Organization: Event Management Services
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2005 14:08:47 -0400
To: Neil Sutton, assistant editor,

Press Release: Stopping the Childhood Obesity Epidemic

Stopping the  Childhood Obesity Epidemic

This summer,  thousands of over-sized kids are attending summer camp—“fat camps” as they are  somewhat derisively called—in hopes of losing weight that has been otherwise  difficult to shed.  While you read this, they are exercising, perhaps for the  first time since toddlerhood; learning about nutrition and eating meals with  portions that many would consider a light snack.

It’s part of a  reaction to a crisis both perceived and real.  Young people, more than ever,  are feeling the pressure to look trim and fit.  But it’s not just  body-image issues that drive this trend.  According to the Centers for Disease  Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of young people who are  overweight has more than tripled since 1980. And obesity, the CDC says, is  clearly tied to numerous health problems such as hypertension, Type 2  diabetes, coronary heart disease and many others.  The problem  doesn’t just stop with overweight children, though.  Lifelong eating habits  are established in childhood according to the CDC.  The result is  that the  U.S. is in a  population-wide obesity crisis.

The experts are at  odds with each other over some aspects of weight control.  When the U.S.  Department of Agriculture released their new food pyramid in April, many  critics cheered that, at last, better guidance was being given to consumers on  making healthy food choices.  Yet even the new pyramid which  makes more recommendations about quantities of food, exercise, and allows for  individual differences—among other things—has also been criticized as  insufficient.  “It’s clear that we need to rebuild the pyramid from the ground  up,” says Walter Willett of Harvard, “not just tip it on its side and dress it  up with new colors.”  

Despite debate  about specific guidelines for nutrition, most agree, losing weight is  primarily about nutrition and adequate exercise.  For children specifically,  however, “the most successful obesity treatments involve the cooperation of  the entire family,” says Dr. Henry Anhalt, director of the division of  pediatric endocrinology and diabetes at the Saint Barnabas Medical Center in  New Jersey.  “It involves a total  lifestyle change.”    

Anhalt and his  colleagues have been working on obesity solutions for children for years. And  although his approach to weight control is multi-faceted, he says, “obesity is  a matter of nutrition, not willpower.” According to published research by  Anhalt and others, obese children lack important nutrients compared to  regular-weight children.  These include vitamins D, E, B-12, and Folic acid,  among others.  These findings have raised concerns about not only  the health of obese children but also their ability to lose weight. A child  that is not healthy, according to Anhalt—one that is not fully energetic and  vital—cannot exercise sufficiently to burn calories.  Overweight children, he  says, need more than smaller food portions.  They need specific  nutritional intervention.

To address this  problem, Anhalt and his colleagues developed a line of supplements, called EssentiaLean, designed to provide the nutrients found missing in  overweight children.  They are also on a mission to provide other  research-based resources to parents and others to help families bring about  lasting lifestyle change that will solve the obesity dilemma.   

For more information or to set up  an interview with Dr. Henry Anhalt for a story, please contact Jay Wilke.   Samples of EssentiaLean are available.

To learn more, please see

Comment: [email protected]

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