Jessica, Christian, Nick and Jillian

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There is an epidemic affecting the health of America's children. It isn't smoking or drug abuse—it's obesity. "This could be the first generation of children to not outlive their parents," Oprah says. Sixteen teenagers share their struggles with weight in hopes of finding the cause. "We wanted to challenge them to take part in a grueling eight-hour intervention where they confront the reasons why they're overweight," Oprah says. "As you hear from them, you'll understand how they got here goes way beyond junk food."

Jessica is 14 years old and has gained 30 to 40 pounds in the past year. "I'm upset about my weight, and I want to do something about it," Jessica says. "I'm sad that I can't accept myself the way I am."

Raven isn't happy with her body and says she gets teased even though people don't know what else is happening in her life. "My mom had brain surgery in December a week before my birthday, and it's kind of stressful because I have to take more responsibilities now," she says.

Christian notices all the thin girls in her school who have boyfriends and seem popular. "Why can't I be like them? Why can't I have a boyfriend like they can?" she says. "Why can't somebody see my inner beauty and not pay attention to my outside?"

Nick weighs 385 pounds and finds it difficult to talk to anyone about his struggle. "When my dad looks at me, I know he just gets depressed because I'm overweight," he says. "I know he feels that it's his fault."

Jillian says that she doesn't remember herself not overweight and is thinking about having gastric bypass surgery. "It's a risky surgery, but there's a chance that I'm going to die from being overweight too," she says.

Stephanie L. is in her senior year and won't go to dances because she's embarrassed about her weight. "School basically is pretty much hell," Stephanie says. "I mean, a lot of kids make fun of me. I'm used to it by now, but it still hurts. No matter how used to it you are, it always hurts."

Josh isn't sure how much he weighs because the scale only goes up to 350 pounds. He believes he eats so much because of his relationship with his father. "That's the reason why I eat so much," Josh says. "He's disappointed in me because I didn't turn out like he wanted me to."
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FROM: Obese Families in Crisis: The Intervention
Published on January 26, 2009
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.

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