Article Overview:    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?   Find out.


Tuesday--December 16, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 825
New Drug For Obese Teenagers Is Xmas Present
Cliff McKenzie
   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 obesity.

Xenical has been approved as a weight-loss drug for teenagers

       According to 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 fat.
  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.     

Losing so little weight over so long a time seems hard to comprehend to one  battling the Beast of Fat Terror

       Losing weight 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.     

Obese children usually have obese parents

       Obese children 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.  

Parents should pass down to their children the Vigilance to eat wisely

No pill will solve the dilemma of being fat

        If the parents are not Vigilant about what they eat, the odds are not favorable the child will be either.  No pill will solve this dilemma.
         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 happened. 
             When I 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 solution.

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.

Dec. 15--Capturing Saddam Hussein--The Weapon Of Mass Destruction

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