How do you fight the Terrorism of a fat teenager? Do you give
him or her pills? Have we become Parents of Pill
Vigilance, eager to turn our kids into pill poppers so they can slim
down? Or, have we forgotten the Principles of Parental
Vigilance? Have we not used the Tools of Vigilance to model our
behavior so that our children will not become obese in body and mind?
16, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 825
New Drug For Obese Teenagers Is Xmas
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Dec. 16, 2003-- The
Beast of Teenage Fat has a new enemy. It's name is Xenical, a
drug the F.D.A. just approved to be used by teenagers to fight
been approved as a weight-loss drug for teenagers
studies reviewed by the F.D.A., about 15 percent of American children
are overweight. Xenical has been approved for use by
doctors to prescribe to teenagers age 12-16 in an effort to help them
shed those extra pounds that puff and jiggle their growing bodies.
Xenical is touted to block about one-third of the fat in the food one
eats from being digested. It attaches to enzymes in the
digestive system and blocks them from breaking down some of the eaten
But all that glitters is not gold.
The side effects of the drug can be nasty, including
bowel dysfunction and constant flatulations.
Worse, the drug is not by any means a panacea.
To be most effective, the teenager must cut down on calories and fat
intake for it to work properly. The drug blocks fat
ingestion into the system by approximately one-third.
Essentially, the fat intake from three hamburgers registers only two
to the Beast of Body Fat.
Unfortunately, there's another
glitch. According to the studies released, over a
year period adults using the drug lost a grand total of 13 pounds a
year, about a pound and few ounces a month.
It is considered a "modest" weight
reduction tool, with 5-10 percent of body weight shedding over a year.
That means a young adult who is forty
pounds overweight will lose between two and four pounds over a year
taking the drug, assuming he or she follows the rules and reduces
calories and fat intake.
As a Sentinel of Vigilance, a Parent of
Vigilance and a guy who is "overweight" by any standard (I stand 6-4
and weight 280 pounds, reasonably well molded over my large body), I
find it a bit scary to think of teenagers taking pills to lose weight
when the loss of weight is so small.
little weight over so long a time seems hard to comprehend to one
battling the Beast of Fat Terror
at the rate of a half-percent of body weight per month, or one percent
at the high end, seems hard to comprehend for a teenager battling the
Beast of Fat Terror.
It's not that I'm against
anything that supports a child's health, or that can serve to motivate
a child to improve his or her self-image along with good eating
habits, but there is something peculiar about this drug. It
doesn't make much sense.
Teenagers are in a great rush
to manage their lives. Life is their race track.
And here comes a weight loss drug that appears to be the tortoise of
weight management. Losing 5 to 10 percent per
year of total body weight seems like telling someone who loves sweets
and has been lost on a desert island for a couple of years to eat a
hot fudge sundae with a toothpick.
What concerns me about the
drug's presence is the idea that it is another form of Complacency,
offered to a child in a drug format that has severe side effects on
the growing body and mind.
usually have obese parents
usually have obese parents. Certainly there are some who may
have medical problems that create weight excess over their control.
But many more model their eating habits from those around them.
An example of such modeling is
our older daughter. She is taking her five-year-old to
violin classes. But, there's a catch. Before her
daughter could take the classes, Mom had to learn to play the violin.
Mother had to go to her own classes and learn to play.
Then, the child went. The idea was, "what's good for the
goose is good for the gander." The other point was, "role
modeling." If "Mom" learned how to play through practicing, then
she represents the "model." Daughter now follows Mom.
Vigilance is about fighting
Fear, Intimidation and Complacency with Courage, Conviction and Right
Actions that benefit the Children's Children's Children.
In the case of weight management of teenagers, it seems the problem of
eating begins at home.
pass down to their children the Vigilance to eat wisely
No pill will
solve the dilemma of being fat
parents are not Vigilant about what they eat, the odds are not
favorable the child will be either. No pill will solve this
Especially in the case of
Xenical. For it work, fat intake must be reduced as well
as calorie intake. Both of those seem to suggest
that what one eats and how much one eats dictates weight loss.
And, at a pound a month at the high end and a half a pound a month at
the low end, it seems almost unimaginable a child would be motivated
to lose weight when fractions are the result.
Children are Terrorized in their
teenager years by other children's opinion of them.
I grew up the opposite of the "obese" child. I was skinny.
Kids called me "spider legs" and "slim."
I know the
pain of being a "skinny kid" and not fitting in
I felt totally insecure, kind of like a preying mantis skulking around
the earth, lifting one stick leg here and another there, waiting for
the word "slim" or "rail boy" or "twig arms" to smack into the wall of
my self worth. I ate like a horse but nothing
came back from Vietnam, I was 6-4 and weight 166 pounds. I
attribute my life today to the fact the V.C. couldn't get a good aim
at my skinny frame. But then, around 40, all that changed.
The weight came and stayed.
While not a "fat kid" I know the pain
of being a "skinny kid." I just never felt I "fit in."
Obese children have special needs
when it comes to self imaging. Frankly, almost all
teenagers do. It's a time when self-image is critical.
And, it's a time when Parents of Teenage Vigilance need to hold up
their Shield of Vigilance with great resolve to ward off Terrorism of
the Self aimed at their children who may be too "fat" or too "thin."
The pill, however, is not the only
Vow to do for
yourself what you want for your child
It seems to me
there is room in the world of Vigilance for Fat Cell Parenting.
A Parent of Fat Cell Vigilance is one who has the Courage, Conviction
and takes the Right Action to fight the Beast of Calories himself or
herself. In other words, if parents look upon
themselves as the first solution and not the pill, perhaps the idea of
"Fat Cell Modeling" will do more to help a 12-16 year-old lose weight
than any pill, and, without the negative danger of side effects.
So, if you're a parent with a child who has
a weight problem, consider taking the Pledge of Vigilance below as one
of your Christmas presents to your children. Alter the
title to Pledge of Fat Cell Vigilance, and vow to do for yourself what
you would want for your child--the ability to know that a loved one,
not a pill, is working to keep the Beast of Fat Terror at bay.