Why The Obsession With Ozempic, Weight Loss & Kids’ Bodies Terrify Me – SheKnows
The intersection of two viral conversations about weight loss, food culture, and childhood obesity has unsettled me in recent weeks. As a millennial parent who struggled with an eating disorder for 20 years and lived through the pro-ana and thinspo culture of the late and early 1990s, my nervous system was in overdrive. I can see the walls approaching me. On the one hand, the toxic culture I grew up in; on the other, my kids aren’t old enough to critically interpret confusing information about bodies and health, yet their healthcare providers are Directed to recommend weight loss diets, drugs and surgery to children.
Navigating my fluctuating recovery in this escalating discussion fueled my parents' anxiety and triggered my health. Despite the gains from the body positivity and neutral movement, we never really seem to leave those Y2K values in the rearview mirror. With the release of the AAP Guidelines for the Treatment of Childhood Obesity, and the intense fascination with new diet pills, I wonder now more than ever whether our society will overcome its anti-fat bias. When confronted with statistics such as the fact that two-thirds of children struggle with body image, I am frozen in a defensive emergency position, desperate to protect my children from the same fat-phobic social conditions that I experience. Influence.
In January, the AAP released new guidelines for treating childhood obesity. Its updated aggressive recommendations include weight-loss drugs and bariatric surgery for some kids as young as 12 — translating into recommendations for weight-loss diets for about a third of teens.
“My heart stopped when I read those words,” said Meg St-Esprit, who recently wrote about her bariatric surgery and how it affected her parenting choices under the new AAP guidelines .
“While I don't necessarily regret my surgery, I do regret every single negative comment and the shaming stereotypes that led to it. The food culture that permeated every aspect of my childhood brought me to that point — and the consequences of an eating disorder life, and it destroyed my ability to have any healthy relationship with food.”
while reading from that cutwhich highlights the use of Ozempic to achieve weight loss body goals, declaring it a “status symbol not a drug.” disturbing, desolateand depress These are just some of the reactions on the Internet to an article titled “Living After Food”. The feature focused on Ozempic, an injectable diabetes treatment and a so-called “anti-obesity” drug designed to regulate insulin, lower blood sugar levels and curb appetite.
I was warned not to open it; I should have followed that advice. While this article attempts to shed light on what the authors and others see as troubling trends, the irony is that for those of us in various stages of recovery from eating disorders, the results have an almost Streisand-like effect. According to respondents, the increased cancer risk wouldn't be so bad if it meant they were leaner, and being hungry at night wouldn't be so bad because they could “have some tea and maybe some Xanax and go to sleep.” “. These sound like excerpts from my LiveJournal in 2002 when I was very ill.
“Despite years of therapy and immersion in anti-cellulite bias deprogramming, my thoughts quickly changed from this is very disturbing arrive I wonder what it would be like to try it“
Despite years of therapy and immersion in anti-cellulite bias deprogramming, my thoughts quickly changed from this is very disturbing arrive I wonder what it would be like to try itCoping with the inexplicable reality of eating disorders is like living with anthropomorphic versions of cartoon demons and angels sitting on opposite shoulders, whispering in your ear and vying for control of the narrative.
Some has called function of propagating harmful rhetoric about obesity; others fully uphold missed the mark By focusing on people who obtain Ozempic illegally, rather than doctors prescribing Ozempic for weight loss, there is a shortage of people for medical indications. Platforming the experiences of a small percentage of people who are not “obese” and who, by all accounts, have no physical health problems associated with the approved use of a drug is not only short-sighted, but unnecessary and reckless. The suffocating media coverage of the “undiscovered secret” of staying slim is something I'm sure we've gotten away with in the past. Obviously, we just repackaged it.
From a parenting perspective, I can't help but connect the dots and recognize patterns in the evolution of the larger cultural conversation, which brings me back to those new AAP recommendations. Eating disorder experts were outraged and swift to respond, determined to shed light on the report's numerous inconsistencies and inadequacies. They said the new guidelines would “have an extremely negative impact on children's relationship with food and their bodies”, expressing serious concerns about children's weight, expected growth and developmental pathology.
Author and researcher Ragen Chastain said the entire advice framework is fundamentally flawed. In a recent Substack post, she wrote, “They fail to mention that the (supposed) health benefits may not be related to small changes in size.”
Also at the forefront of these discussions is writer and Maintenance Stage co-host Aubrey Gordon, who joins co-host Michael Hobbs for a deep dive into advice for the latest episode of their podcast. Gordon agrees with Chastain that the AAP is utterly missing the mark, “which boils down to something so obvious and nefarious: ‘We really care about the health of these kids. So we're not going to be concerned about their health. We Just looking at how fat they are.'”
That's the crux of the problem. The body cannot be accepted in the conditions presented by the AAP, and the culture is evident, somewhat reinforced by this overworked and reckless Ozempic obsessive tendency. We've put intensified weight loss messaging as the ultimate solution. Children internalize this at face value. Before a certain age, they can't separate conversations about body size as a key indicator of health from feelings of success and failure, or good and bad. Even older children, such as teenagers, still have an underdeveloped sense of self. Once you introduce these ideas to your children, there is no going back and no going back.
“We're saturated with messaging that reinforces weight loss as the ultimate solution. Kids internalize it at face value.”
As Gordon said, “Because our own conflict [sentiments] We, as adults, give our children wildly contradictory instructions on this matter. We are training them to have conflicting relationships with their bodies, the food they eat, and sometimes with their families and healthcare providers. ”
That's not the message I want to convey to my kids. This is not the message I want my kids to spread among their peer groups and carry with them for the rest of their lives as their bodies change, develop, fluctuate and age.
So what are parents to do when they realize our culture hasn't evolved in any meaningful way? It's easier to ignore when it's relegated to a magazine cover you can avoid looking at. But the Internet changed all that. While our search engine habits and social media algorithms allow us to protect ourselves from certain content, our control ends there, especially with regard to our children.
Perhaps part of the answer is that platforms issue content warnings — like they do with vaccine misinformation — for harmful eating disorder content linked to public health outcomes, an interesting thought from nutritionists Nicole Groman and Jaclyn London on the podcast health business. Since social media giants like TikTok are the “new tabloids,” it seems sensible to consider this.
The other piece of the puzzle involves adopting a new food philosophy—revamping our framework. As Jennifer Anderson, child nutrition expert and founder of Kids Eat in Color, puts it, “The first thing we can do is talk nicely about our bodies in front of toddlers and preschoolers. We can also talk neutrally about food, we don’t have to Say food is good or bad, healthy or unhealthy.”
The concept Groman discusses is making peace with food and finding food freedom, which means food is no longer a source of anxiety and guilt.It's part of a larger frame of body liberation, preached by people like Chrissy King, who is Body Liberation ProgramAs she explains to Essence, bodily liberation is “the idea that we have intrinsic value because we exist. We are all worthy of respect, love, appreciation and gratitude, no matter what our reflection in the mirror is.”
Physical liberation for all is the ultimate dream. I hope one day we can get there.
If you or someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder, exercise disorder, or obsessions related to weight loss, you are not alone. You can take steps to get help by contacting NEDA's Eating Disorders Helpline at (800) 931-2237.
Before you go, check out some of our favorite quotes to help inspire a healthy attitude toward food and your body: