TEENAGE WAISTLAND: A Former Fat Kid Weighs In on Living Large, Losing Weight, and How Parents Can (and Can't) Help

Abby Ellin, Author . Public Affairs $25 (257p) ISBN 978-1-58648-228-2

Ellin, a freelance journalist and former fat-camper, wants parents of obese teens to understand a few essential points. First, there's no single answer to the obesity problem—what's right for one kid may be useless for another. Don't shame obese children by calling them fat or out of control, or by putting them on highly restricted diets while other family members munch on fried chicken. Respect "nutritionally challenged" children, and focus on the many things to love about them. Teach them about living healthy, which involves more than just knowing which foods to pick. Ellin has researched fat camps (expensive but a relief from real-world struggles), behavior modification programs (difficult to keep up), gastric bypass surgery (effective but fairly dangerous), drugs (largely ineffective) and the "size acceptance" approach (theoretically fine, but maybe they're kidding themselves). The problem with this book may be that it's a little too honest—teenage obesity is not easily solved with a Frenchwoman's recipes for diuretic leek soup. Yet the author's compassion and her willingness to share her personal life, along with the book's appendix listing helpful resources, may bring comfort to many distraught parents. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/25/2005
Release date: 06/01/2005
Paperback - 257 pages - 978-1-58648-460-6
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