Local author takes the fight to stop childhood obesity
by Carly Grady
Apr 07, 2013 | 2719 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tom Etheridge’s fear for his son’s health turned into a passion for helping others deal with the serious problem of child obesity. His book, “Shaping Our Kids — Taking the Fight to Childhood Obesity,” has become the foundation of the mission. A free, two-part seminar featuring the author will take place Saturday, April 20 and 27, at 10 a.m. at Thrive! Weight Loss of Cartersville.

“It’s bad enough when parents are told by a doctor that their children are not in good health. It’s even worse when the parents learn that they themselves have been contributing to their children’s illness,” according to a press release from New Heights Marketing Inc. “This is the position in which Etheridge, the owner of numerous weight loss centers throughout north Georgia, found himself when he was told by a pediatrician that his 11-year-old son was borderline obese.”

“As I started doing research, regarding childhood obesity, I realized that there’s just not a lot of information out there in general,” Etheridge said. “So I started talking with doctors and, of course, looking at what’s available on the Internet. As I talked to more and more people, I realized that a lot of people share the same common issues in their family. So I wrote the book to help as many others, who are in the same situation as we were.

“The book takes an all-inclusive approach to not just nutritional education but also how to get your kids to be more active; how to get them out from in front of the television and off the video games and the electronics and make them more active; how to increase their metabolism; how to recognize a proper portion size. It’s just a totally holistic approach to fighting the problem all the way around. With children in particular, the goal can’t be weight loss. The goal has to be better eating habits and more exercise. Things that can be taught in the home, taught by the parents to their children and can establish some habits that will make them healthier adults, later in life.”

According to the press release, with the formation of his company, Smart Nutrition, LLC, Etheridge set out on a mission to inform other parents that obesity is not a life sentence, but instead something that can be corrected with very simple changes in a child’s formative years. He is now building on that foundation with a website (www.shapingourkids.com) and free seminars, each geared toward helping parents make a profound difference in the health and appearance of their children without causing a revolt.

Etheridge will continue his mission with the two local seminars. Topics covered will include:

• why overweight kids don’t “grow out of it;”

• long term health impacts of childhood obesity;

• how to calculate sugar content in common foods;

• what are micronutrients;

• how to read food labels;

• proper portion size; and

• how to live in a fast-food world and still be healthy.

“... There are a lot of people, not just in our community but in our country, that are facing the same challenges that I was facing,” Etheridge said. “It’s OK to say, ‘I want to help my child.’ In a lot of cases, I think there are a lot of parents that want to do something but don’t know what to do. This book and these workshops provide parents with the opportunity to learn what they can do ... It really begins in the home and with education on nutrition and how we should eat.”

The seminars will take place at Thrive! Weight Loss Cartersville, located at 162 W. Main St., Cartersville. Seats are limited. To register, go to www.shapingourkids.com or call Eric at 770-607-4690. “Shaping Our Kids — Taking the Fight to Childhood Obesity” can be purchased on the website as well.