Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right!

Did you know that no previous U.S. generation has raised children more likely to have a shorter life span than its parents and that obesity will soon overtake smoking as the nation’s leading cause of preventable death.

You may be wondering how I know this and where got this information.  These are very true startling facts that were presented to a group of NJ and PA bloggers at the Mrs G TV and Appliances VIB Speaker Series where child obesity specialist Dr. Joanna Dolgoff was the guest speaker.

I'm sure you're well aware that obesity is a problem in the U.S. It's definitely an issue that I think about as a parent and as someone who struggled with weight since childhood. That's why I felt it was so important to have Dr. Dolgoff come and talk with the bloggers at the event. I became a fan of her weekly Twitter talk, #kidsweigh, and knew that if I was getting a lot of "food for thought" through Twitter, she would be all the more powerful in a 30-minute block of time.

Dr. Dolgoff is a NYC based pediatrician who is becoming widely known for her nearly 100% success rate with the weight loss program for youth called Dr. Weigh (  As a parent of 2, Dr. Dolgoff has encountered many of the same fork-in-the-road situations that parents encounter regarding healthy eating choices for kids.  Fortunately, she has more professional training and expertise to know healthy choices and alternatives than most of us have, but she was able to share some surprising facts and helpful tips to help us be better educated parents. 

Some of the highlights for Dr. Dolgoff's presentation, Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right include:
  • 18.8% of all school age children are now obese...not just overweight, but actually obese!  
  • The majority of children who are obese will most likely be obese as an adult. 
  • The term "Adult Onset Diabetes" has been replaced with Type II Diabetes because of the large number of children developing what used to be just an adult problem.
  • Juice is not as healthy as some may want you to think. Loaded with sugar and calories, you're lacking the fiber that real fruit has. Offer juice in low doses or as a treat. 
  • A 12 oz can of soda=10 teaspoons of sugar! 
  • Brainstorm with your children on alternative activities to do other than watching TV or playing on the computer. Even if your kid is not an athlete, there are other ways to get them active. 
  • Eat together: planned meal time helps kids eat balanced meals. Whether it's breakfast or dinner, make a time to sit together and talk. Avoid letting kids choose their own food or eat alone. They usually don't make good choices and will overeat.
  • The best thing that a parent can do is to intervene but do it with care. Obesity treatment reduces the risk of eating disorders. But don't do it alone if you think your child has a problem. Consult with your doctor.
  • Avoid becoming the food police. Don't force food, don't criticize or scold, and don't use food as bribes. Also, don't forbid food but explain what is a healthy option and what is just a special treat.
  • A complete meal is not just about the food. When you sit down to eat, turn off the TV, encourage conversation (What was the best part of your day?), decrease plate size to watch portions, eat slowly (the 20-minute fact is true).
  • Tips for packing a healthy lunch: A wheat + a meat + a treat (and fruit and veggie)
  • Tips for dining out: don't order kids meals (usually fried food or too large), don't be afraid to special order, don't drink your calories (juice/soda)
  • Tips for snacking: plan the night before, always include water, portion out into baggies.
Dr. Dolgoff developed her program into a book with the same title, Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right (which is available on, and the system is color coded and easy for kids (and adults) to follow. Each food is classified into a color group based on the frequency of which you can eat them. For example:  

  • Red Light Foods represent high-calorie foods (i.e. regular steak)
  • Yellow Light Foods represent moderate-calorie food(i.e. 1/2 a bagel, 3oz fried chicken)
  • Green Light Foods represent low-calorie foods (i.e. mini bagel, 2oz grilled chicken
  • Free Fuel: Foods that should be eaten at every meal (fruits and veggies)
To learn more about Dr. Dolgoff and her Dr. Weigh program, visit You can also purchase her book on

To learn more about the blogger event from some of our attendees, you can view their links below. 

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