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D. Understanding Childhood Obesity

Narrator: This is Science Today. In the last twenty years, there's been a fifty-four percent increase in the prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States. While some may blame the weight on genetics or fast food, University of California, San Francisco weight management specialist, Laurel Mellin says there's more to it.

Mellin: It's something far deeper than that. Children now tend to get indulgence or deprivation much more than they did 20 or 30 years ago. And when parents are indulging or depriving, it increases a child's appetite because they don't feel safe and they don't feel like they can soothe inside themselves.

Narrator: Mellin says children can learn to comfort themselves internally if their parents have good nurturing skills and set limits.

Mellin: Frequently parents of obese children feel sorry for them and what they end up doing is being more permissive. The permissiveness ends up making the child feel insecure and lesser and they end up eating more.

Narrator: Mellin addresses these issues in her new book, The Solution: 6 Winning Ways to Permanent Weight Loss. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.