The cause of morbid childhood obesity

Why do some kids get really obese? What’s the most common cause? Watch the first three minutes of this documentary and you’ll see an extreme example.

It’s hardly a lack of physical activity. It’s an addiction to processed high-carb junk food. The stuff that skyrockets your fat-storing hormone insulin.

We don’t let our kids get addicted to alcohol. We don’t let them become addicted to smoking. Perhaps we should be equally cautious when it comes to soda and high-carb junk food.


  1. Jennifer G.
    At 25:00, little Leo's high cholesterol is blamed on too much beef. So much teaching still to do...
  2. Hemming
    Just the first three minutes are sad to watch regardless of which specific dietary regime you believe in.
  3. Suse B
    Powerful, powerful stuff....started with the intention of only watching a little but became absolutely transfixed by the story unfolding. Should be required parental viewing!

    I obviously don't agree with all the nutritional theories being expanded, but even some of the smallest changes would make such a difference here!

    Reply: #4
  4. I think if we are going to make any progress we have to keep the message as simple as possible.

    Anastasia over at Primalmeded A case for simplicity

  5. I have watched the whole movie. Unfortunately, this is what is taught here, that obesity can be caused by fatty meat, fat in dairy, etc.

    But things are changing. Read this:

    Reply: #7
  6. Butch
    omg. I was watching the few minutes of it so far and it breaks my heart. Our food supply that is created by the food industry whose main goal is profitability it's being shoved to the masses and it is killing our children.
  7. But my point is the issue of childhood obesity is too critical for those in the "low carb" or "Paleo" or "Ancestral Health" communities to become too precious about everyone conforming 100% to our view of the problem and it's solution.
    Those here who have been watching the Ancestral Health 2012 videosAndreas Eenfeldt, MD — The Carb Controversy and the Q&A's will know what I mean.
    If we are going to solve the problem we have to work together, in collaboration, with others whose view of the problem is slightly or somewhat different from our own.
    Commercial pressures on families to consume and behave in ways that make parents and children fat, are intolerable.
    We cannot waste time and energy squabbling about minor aspects of low carb, paleo, while Coca Cola, The Cereal and Sugar industry are destroying the health of the next generation.
  8. I am the one who sent the movie link to Dr. Eenfeldt. And I come from a fully low-carb / paleo perspective (I have translated Dr. Eenfeldt's recommendations to Portuguese in my blog, for example, so I am clearly not against fat in my food!). But I wholeheartedly agree with Ted Hutchinson, above. Yes, they do blame fat in some parts of the movie, but the main message is clearly bashing sugar and processed food. As I said in my (Portuguese) blog post, the fact that the movie director does not come from the paleo / lowcarb world and yet manages to hit the nail in the head (processed food and sugar) makes the documentary even more compelling. And some scenes speak for themselves: the kids that cannot name everyday real foods (because all they've eaten their whole lives was processed), the Nestle floating supermarket deep in the Amazon forest...

    So yes, we still need to work on the fatphobia, but I maintain that everyone should see this movie - and feel angry about it.

  9. Michelle
    So sad and made me cry actually.

    I'm in the UK and lucky to be able to feed my son 'real' food. However, he still wants the sugar filled snacks. I've compromised and we make flapjacks (or as I call them, flabjacks) together and he will take one to school as his treat. I know this is not perfect, but I don't allow anything else except maybe some high quality ice-cream and lots of berries. (major guilt trip)

    What makes me mad about primary schools in the UK is that on birthdays they allow the birthday boy/girl to dish out Haribo to fellow classmates. My son comes out with these and I can honestly say my blood boils.

    I agree that we need to put the message that sugar is toxic and that processed foods are poision out there for everyone to understand. But like Ted says, 'We cannot waste time and energy squabbling about minor aspects of low carb, paleo, while Coca Cola, The Cereal and Sugar industry are destroying the health of the next generation.', as they will never willingly change. This is because they are driven by profits and do not have our optimum health as their main priority. Therefore, it is the concern of the individual to force the food industry to change, how do we do this? We don't buy their poision.

    Great post and loads of common sense on here as always.

    Michelle x

  10. Zepp
    I am with J.C an Ted.. kids should eat real food, the should seldome go on a low carb diet.. but they dont need any crapdfood!

    Or rather.. there parents should learn to give them real good home cooked meals!

  11. Janknitz
    I thought the message about sugar was loud and clear. The few times they included fat they showed oil, not healthy, natural fats.

    What they illustrated clearly to is how food manufacturers have had free reign to shape our perceptions about food ("no trans fats means its good for your heart"). I loved the point that we are allowing advertising execs to teach our children about food.

    I still have kids at home. We cook from scratch and sit down with them at dinner every night and talk about the healthy food on our table, which more and more comes from local farmers. We explore new foods--they don't always like them (more liver and beets for us!), but they know what they are and why they are on the table instead of fast food and packaged junk.

    I can't control what they eat 24/7, but I like to imagine them someday having the same conversations with my grandchildren.

    Reply: #12
  12. Zepp
    When they leave home for an living by there own they gonna eat all that they didnt got at home!!

    But when they get there own children.. they gonna remember mothers home cooked food!

    The thing is that you plant some thoughts in there minds.. that gonna bear fruit in the future.

  13. Doc, you should watch this movie till the end. I am Brazilian and was so shocket with the reality of my country! First of all, there are currently very few divisions regarding feeding children among social classes an regions, crap is spread and highly consumed by everyone. Second: the boat of Nestle in Amazonas. Jesussss !!! I haven´t been in my country for 3 years and on January went back: it is impressive how fat brazilians became in such a short amount of time! You can see in the moving, children that does not take processed food to school sometimes eat their fruits (the example was a banana) inside toallets, afraid of bulling !! IThis was an extreme example, maybe, but illustrates how processed food became social norm. This is a pity in a tropical country with such a wonderful variety of wonderful food. Here is the full documentary

  14. Greensleeves
    This is Gary Taubes' 101 - obesity & poverty mixed together on a high carb high sugar diet. He often talks about this.
  15. tess
    i'm no "expert" but i can't help but think that small children CAN'T become morbidly obese unless their pre-birth environment is messed up! high maternal blood sugar and insulin are setting the stage for these poor kids. so starting at birth is TOO LATE -- getting pregnant women over the idea that they should be eating treats "for two" all the time will help their babies get off to a better start.
  16. Bret
    Great analogy, Dr. Eenfeldt, with the reference to alcohol and smoking. High-carb junk is just as potent a toxin, and yet it goes disturbingly unaddressed by the authorities and the mainstream.
  17. Jim
    I watched the first three minutes and yes it is hard to watch. I feel badly for all of them. The kid actually seems like a good kid. He was willing to share his chips etc... We can't now how powerful the desire is in him to make him act that way. Even though the parents should excercise a bit more control over him I often find it is simply ignorance that makes parents cave so easily. It happens all over the place all the time. I am sure they love him and want what is best. They simply don't seem to know what is best.

    When I grew up my parents would never have let me drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. They knew that stuff was bad for me. I grew up learning that those were things for adults to do if they choose. Perhaps we need to have a similar attitude toward sweets. At the very least we should teach they are occasional indulgences and not every day diet like this kid has made them.

    I don't blame these companies for trying to make a profit at all. I just think the public needs to keep up with information. I would like to see the sections of soda, chips and candy shrink at the grocery store due to consumer choice. Our values as a society have changed and we don't value modesty and self control like we once did. 30 years ago chips, soda and candy all existed and few kids were obese. It was a different time with different values. It wouldn't hurt us to have some of that today. If we simply make villains of those who give us choices instead of making the right choices ourselves it won't solve this problem. It just perpetuates a society where every choice I make is not my fault. That is our problem to begin with. Sadly I don't think Dr. Eenfeldt would agree with me. Thankfully his education via blog, videos etc... is a major force in helping people to learn and make the right choices. The videos alone have been a huge help to me. The posts about Coca Cola have done nothing for me.

    I don't agree 100% of the time Doctor but you are a good man and I hope to shake your hand and thank you personally one day. Thank you!

  18. Cheneen
    It is always easy to read an article and nod your head in agreement with the author, however when it is put into a video and one is shown; the relationship of sugar with each product, the effects on children and the power of addiction to sugar; you cannot help but feel the hopelessness and pain expressed in the children's eyes.

    I am thankful to this website for the continuous education that it provides free of charge. It has truly helped me in getting my family onto the right path and as "Zepp" stated appropriately "I am with J.C an Ted.. kids should eat real food, the should seldome go on a low carb diet.. but they dont need any crapdfood! Or rather.. there parents should learn to give them real good home cooked meals!" I make every effort to cook health meals and pack a decent lunch for my 4 yr old everyday. No matter how tired I am I know it will pay in dividends in the future.

  19. Karen S
    wow from 1:17 to the end... that's the bit that really hit home.... is it possible to select just that end bit so I can share it? The whole documentary ... AMAZING. Thank you to the producers and the families that took part for sharing your story.

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