There are few who are willing to write about kids and food, and this one makes me realize why. Even thought PN puts their finger on several true and important elements of childhood obesity, they fail to make the most significant point and they fail to make workable recommendations.
Whole grains for kids? REALLY? If you want to feed that crap to your kids, by all means ignore my fears of a food that isn't even good for adults. If you have any concern for the novelty of modern grains in the human diet, the fact that at least 10% of humans are gluten sensitive and 3% find gluten downright toxic, or the issues with opiods, phytates or the high glycemic load, then like me you'll grit your teeth every time your kids eat birthday cake or pizza with friends. But I would never willingly give my kids wheat/pasta on the notion that it's a good idea for their health. I just give in to the reality that, like porn and violence and a government controlled education system, I cannot protect them from these things; perhaps I can limit the impact.
Yes, I just said that wheat is to food what porn is to healthy sexuality and what TV/movie/game violence is to a robust defense of one's own physical safety.
PN states that kids get fat from eating the most calorie dense foods - and whole grain foods are just that. Modern wheat products pack a huge quantity of highly digestible carbohydrate into a package that typically has to be dressed in some flavor enhancing nastiness to be desired by kids - there's no long line of kids hoping to pack in pasta without a flavorful topping, or bread on a sandwich that has nothing to make it sweet.
For example, take a PB and J sandwich with 2 slices of bread and 2 ounces PB w 2 tablespoons of jelly. This "food" has 24g protein, 84g carbs, 38.5g fat (for a sweet total of 778.5 kcal). This would be excessive if were only 1 slice, 1 ounce, and 1 tablespoon (as I think of it, I'll bet most sandwiches are more like a half ounce of PB, but I used to slather on the jelly; it was like a contest to see how much jelly the bread would hold without collapsing or without the jelly sliming out of the side of the sandwich. Either way 40g of carbs from 2 slices of bread is not what I want my kids to start a meal with). I might rather feed my kid a Snickers bar, which "only" has 4g protein, 27g of carbs, and 12g of fat for a fairly moderate 220 kcal but it has no gluten, phytates or opioids.
As for eating the most "calorie dense foods", there's fat which has more kcal per gram than other macronutrients, but which is hard to overeat by itself. No one gets fat eating lard from the tub. What people can down by the box or bucket is crackers, cookies, bread, and other super carbs (rice, pasta, potatoes). Still, some can eat all that and do fine until they reach a critical threshold of sugar.
Finally, PN offers as advice to eat only whole, unprocessed foods. Right - like meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch, no sugar/wheat. BECAUSE WHEAT IS ONLY A FOOD IF YOU PROCESS THE HECK OUT OF IT! Holy cow, how can there be so much confusion about this topic - just look at the friggin' label. If you want to eat unpulverized wheat buds, then you will at least be eating whole, unprocessed whole grains. More power to you.
PN would probably counter that there are many people and kids who can do just fine on wheat. They are likely right. Most kids also survive automobiles, plane travel and infectious disease. To me it's a simple matter to put them in a car seat to better their odds if there's a crash, and I'll have them minimize their wheat intake as well. They'll get far too much wheat even if we never offer it to them.
As for workable recommendations, good luck stuffing your kids with fruits and veggies as PN recommends. They'll eat the fruit all day. Why that seems like a good idea is beyond me. It does beat wheat as a food, but fruit is no panacea if your concern is an overweight kid, and if your kids eat fruit like mine do, you'll need a second mortgage to feed them.
According to the "Perfect Health Diet" author Paul Jaminet, kids DO need more carbohydrate than adults do. Some fruit, veggies as able, good quality milk, sweet potatoes, white rice and very limited sweets (like small pieces of very high quality dark chocolate) can get them what they need without having to declare gluten Armageddon on their GI tracts.