Posted by Deborah Pujoue on September 5, 2011
A new children’s book has got people seeing red over the book’s central theme: dieting. Some people are even going so far as to say that the book promotes eating disorders. The book, called “Maggie Goes on a Diet,” is written by Paul M. Kramer and is due to hit shelves in October.
Let’s get a little bit of perspective here. The story is about a 14-year-old girl who has low self-esteem because she is overweight. During the story, the girl begins to develop self-esteem as she starts losing the weight using diet and exercise. I can’t see the problem so far. Then again, I haven’t told you the advertising for the book on Amazon.com yet, which reads, [Maggie] “is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal-sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self-image.” Ok, I am not a fan of the site saying that she is transformed into a NORMAL-sized girl (just what is normal these days, anyway?), but I must agree that a story about losing weight in a healthy way can’t be all bad.
The book is geared for children ages 4 to 8, and not all readers are against the book’s theme. Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of FoxNews.com, says, “To think that this book is going to create anorexia in 5 year olds is ludicrous. This seems to be a well-thought-out book about a young woman who wants to change her life for the better, for herself, and she is sharing that experience with others.”
This book did bring up an interesting question about children and dieting. Is it even appropriate to put a child on a diet when a health concern isn’t immediately present? For me, I think that encouraging good eating habits in your children, combined with an active lifestyle is not just OK, it is expected from parents these days. Even Michelle Obama agrees with me. While I don’t believe that a children’s book about dieting is necessarily harmful, it does bring something to my mind that my mother used to say to me: “It’s not always what you say, but how you say it that counts.”