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09/06/11

Diet Books for Children?

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?

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