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Cartersville man pens book to fight childhood obesity
by Monica Burge
April 23, 2013 01:50 PM | 2923 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bartow resident Tom Etheridge recently wrote and published a book aimed at fighting childhood obesity.
Bartow resident Tom Etheridge recently wrote and published a book aimed at fighting childhood obesity.
artersville resident Tom Etheridge said what began as a routine wellness check for his oldest son last August has since propelled his family on a journey that has changed their lives forever.

“When the doctor came in, she said ‘there were a couple of things we needed to look at,” Etheridge said. “She was flipping through the pages of her chart and she said, ‘One thing that I’m very concerned about is he’s borderline obese.’ I was just completely blown away.”

Etheridge said his doctor informed him that based on his son’s body mass index, he was perilously close to the percentage ranking for children who are obese.

Etheridge said his doctor didn’t really give him any suggestions as to how he and his wife could help their son, so he turned to the Internet.

“As I started looking on the Internet and began researching childhood obesity, I saw that there was not a lot out there,” Etheridge said. “It’s amazing that it’s a problem that affects 2 out of 10 kids and there’s very little out there in terms of practical information and plans as to how to deal with overweight kids.”

Etheridge said he spoke with experts in the medical field who gave him useful information, but the bulk of his research was gleaned from his connection to Thrive! Weight Loss.

Etheridge, who began as a consultant with the company, now is a franchise owner of three centers and said the program, started by Travis Martin in 1998, balances healthy foods by categorizing and pairing them in ways that helps the body burn fat efficiently.

According to the program’s website, hundreds, if not thousands of adults have benefitted and Etheridge said the same principles can be applied to kids.

Etheridge said what he has learned from his research has helped his son, who has moved closer to his ideal body mass index percentage since his family’s lifestyle change.

Etheridge wrote the book, “Shaping our Kids: Taking the Fight to Childhood Obesity,” to share his family’s story and to help parents, who are ultimately responsible for what their kids are—or are not—eating.

But Etheridge said the book is not a diet, but a practical blueprint that combines Thrive! principles and other tools to get kids eating better and getting active.

“We’re trying to teach parents, more than anything else, to be intelligent about what you’re feeding your kids,’ the 1988 Cass High School graduate said. “It’s not about weight loss, it’s about nutrition.”

The book is available online at

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