Fat No More: A Teenager’s Victory Over Obesity
Piñata Books • 2012 • 184 pages
Trade Paperback ($16.95)
Ages 14 and up
Alberto Hidalgo-Robert started out big—big baby, big toddler, big kid, big appetite. And he makes no bones about his focus on eating; no bones about the tantrums he threw to get his mother to buy him the foods he loved. He is equally clear about the fact that by the time he turned fifteen, his eating habits and sedentary lifestyle were killing him.
Recounting his road from obesity to a more normal weight, Hidalgo-Robert employs a breezy, colloquial style that often addresses the reader directly: “Hello, friend I haven’t met!” He casts Obesity as an active character in his drama by going as far as to give it a gender (male). This chatty, slightly forced delivery may be a little off-putting for adults, but teens should be drawn in, and the tools Hidalgo-Robert offers to fight teen obesity—the ones that he learned from the Packard Pediatric Weight Control Program at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital—represent a perfect combination of simplicity and effectiveness. Sorting foods into three categories (“Green Light, Yellow Light, and Red Light”) and encouraging a move away from the television and into both exercise and family discourse, the Packard Program focuses on effecting a complete lifestyle change, with weight loss being the collateral effect.
Read Related: My Son Worries He’s Getting Fat
Some may wish for just a little more information about how the young author lost the last 40 pounds after he left the program, but teens will relate to his adolescent angst and positive banter, and the photos of his body’s transformation from 230 pounds to 160, are certainly inspirational. Parents, too, may learn from Hidalgo-Robert’s mother and father, both of whom were instrumental in helping him get to the straight and narrow, and to stay there. Throw in tasty recipes at the end, and this book is a winning package.
—Reviewed by Ann Welton, Library Media Specialist, Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Tacoma, WA