We’ve all heard about the rising numbers for childhood obesity, but do they warrant children’s books about dieting?
Paul A. Kramer thinks so. His controversial new book, “Maggie Goes on a Diet,” tells the story of a chubby 14-year old who wants to lose weight because she is teased at school. She changes her food choices and exercises, with the result of a slimmer figure. Her new body size makes her instantly popular with her classmates.
This book reinforces the idea that being thinner is better, a powerfully strong notion for children with low self-esteem. The changes Maggie makes in the book are admirable and great examples of positive lifestyle choices; however, equating them with social acceptance is not only erroneous, but dangerous. Children should learn about the benefits of healthful eating and regular exercise, which do not always include a reduction in body size or popularity boost.
Part of what has adults upset is that although its heroine is 14, the book is written for a much younger audience.
What do you think about this book? Do you think children should learn about dieting?