You may have heard or read about ‘Billy Robbins’, the teenager who has unfortunately been nick-named ‘half ton teen’ by the mass media, who at just 19 years of age topped the scales at an incredible 800 pounds, making him the world’s heaviest teenager.
His plight has been well documented in a TLC special called, imaginably, ‘half ton teen’. Billy had been told he had literally months to live if his weight wasn’t drastically reduced and the only option for such drastic weight loss was to undergo weight loss surgery.
The most effective and commonly used surgical procedure for the clinically obese is called gastric banding which is when a laparoscopic adjustable gastric band is placed around the top portion of the stomach, this procedure is not usually invasive and can be performed via Laparoscopic surgery or, keyhole surgery as it is more commonly known.
In Billy Robbins case, he was too large initially to receive the life saving operation and had to go onto a strict 1200 calorie diet, which may not seem too extreme to people of normal size and weight but when you have been consuming 8000 calories a day it is a massive reduction.
Eventually, after losing two and a half stone, he had the first of a three step surgical plan, devised by surgeons in Texas, who specialized in this type of procedure. This operation entailed removing a large amount of excess fat from Billy’s stomach, a five stone slab to be exact, that’s 70 pounds!
Then after 3 months of hospital care and continued dieting, during which time his weight had come down a remarkable 280 pounds, he underwent the second phase of his surgery.
This second phase was to implant the gastric band that would limit the amount of food that could be eaten, a month after this he was allowed to go home having lost a further 70 pounds.
The third and final part of this surgery will be to tighten the gastric band to limit further Billy’s food intake and help him lose even more weight. At the airing of this documentary in January 2009, Billy had lost a total of 30 stones, just over half his original starting weight.
Weight loss surgery has saved Billy Robbins from certain early death as it has many, many others but the real issue here is that of a nations diet and eating habits, sure Billy Robbins was something of a victim of circumstance, being pampered by a mother who gave him no direction regarding the correct diet and for whatever reasons she may have had, she was slowly killing the son she loves.
Children need educating about diet and exercise from an early age or they too will become victims of the lazy eating culture and we will see more cases such as Billy’s. Advertisers need to be governed much better as our children are under a constant barrage of one advertisement after another for fat filled, sugar drenched snack foods and drinks that have the health of our children as their lowest priority instead of their highest.
Many of these corporations that prey on our young people have the audacity to blame the victims for lack of self control yet the message they subliminally promote is more is good! We have to take measures, and place the control firmly into our own hands to ensure our children, and ourselves, live happier, healthier and longer lives.
At the last count over two thirds of Americans were overweight and around 15% of those were obese and the figures are expected to reach 75% by the year 2015! This issue has forced our medical insurance costs way up and out the reach of many as weight related illnesses are the number one drain on our medical resources.
It is never too late to take action, losing weight and leading a healthier lifestyle through diet and exercise will not only help us but our children also.