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Issue 110: Twinkie Talk


Dr. Fiona BlairFiona Blair, M.D, attended Harvard University in Cambridge, MA where she earned a B.A. in Psychology. At Emory University, Dr. Blair earned her medical degree and completed her pediatric residency in 1996. Married and the mother of four children, Dr. Blair is also a Clinical Preceptor at Emory and Morehouse Schools of Medicine. She is board-certified in Pediatrics and routinely makes appearances as a keynote speaker on many health topics, including childhood obesity. Dr. Blair also serves as a valued medical expert for Garden of Life.

Unfortunately, childhood obesity is growing. Therefore, I see a lot of parents of overweight children. I remember a time one mom brought her eight-year-old son in for a checkup.

The poor kid weighed 150 pounds, and he was a third grader!

“Dr. Blair,” said the mother, “you’ve got to do something about this child.”

I’ve got to do something about this child?” I asked, like his ballooned physique was my fault.

“Yes, because I don’t know what else to do. Look at him. He’s so big.”

“Yes, he’s overweight, but what kind of foods does he eat?”

“He eats nothing but junk. His favorite food is Twinkies. He eats Twinkies all day long.”

I cut her off right there. “Does he have a job?” I queried.

“No,” she replied with a look that said, What kind of question is that?

“Does he drive?”


“Then where’s he getting the Twinkies from?”

Now that question really hit home. She looked down and tugged at her purse. “I buy them for him,” she whispered.

“Why are you doing that?”

She had no answer for me. Although it seemed simple and obvious to me that if you don’t buy Twinkies, he won’t eat Twinkies, that simple fact had eluded her.

I let this idea settle in before I offered some doctorly advice. “Now, let me remind you that you’re in control of what he eats. It’s not up to me to do something about it; it’s up to you.”

I practice what I preach. For instance, I leave a bowl of various fruits out for my children to snack on when they come home from school. I know that if I set a plate of doughnuts next to the fruit, the doughnuts will get eaten before the fruit, so I don’t make the doughnut option available.

It’s as simple as that.


This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

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