Posts Tagged ‘Maggie Goes on a Diet’

Diet Book For Children Is a Concern

August 28, 2011

There are two significant problems with a book like Maggie Goes on a Diet, which is pitched at pre-teens and preaches dieting as the best form of weight loss.

The first problem is that young children should not be dieting.  On the child related health website,, it states that, “Diets that don’t include a variety of nutritious foods, or have too few calories, can be dangerous for kids.”

My second concern is the type of messages we send kids about weight.  At a time when these young children are trying to work out who they are and trying to find a sense of self it is terribly destructive to focus on their weight.  Children who need to lose weight don’t need a novel to tell them that.  They need a support network of loving parents and dietitians who will be able to consider the child’s virtues as well as their struggles.

As much as childhood obesity is a concern, in my view children lacking in confidence is of far greater concern.  It is not sufficient to tear down a childs self-esteem by recommending diets and drawing attention to their weight.  To be motivated to do anything positive one has to be in a positive mindframe.  You have to believe in yourself and think of yourself as worthy of the breakthrough.

I too have written a book (albeit not yet published) that focusses on an obese child.  But I have taken a very different approach.  My child learns not to obsess about his weight and see the bigger picture.  He is not going to get thin tomorrow, but in trying to improve his health he will reflect on the things he has learnt about himself over the course of the journey.

I don’t think the carrot stick for potato chip packet works or is very responsible.

Diet Book Targets 6-12 Year-Olds!

August 18, 2011


You don’t need me to tell you that it is unhealthy for preteens to target.  I would go even further than that and say that it’s unhealthy for preteens to be fixated on their weight to begin with.

Writing a book advocating child dieting is irresponsible and potentially destructive:

A book aimed at helping young children lose weight has outraged an eating disorder help group.

Maggie Goes on a Diet, aimed at 6 to 12 year olds, tells the story of an overweight girl who goes on a diet and goes on to become the school soccer star.

Its Hawaiian publishers pitch the book on their website as an inspirational tale for kids.

“Maggie has so much potential that has been hiding under her extra weight,” the website says.

Deb Schwarz, manager of Eating Difficulties Education Network (EDEN), a New Zealand not-for-profit organisation, says the book could have the opposite effect, and encourage eating disorders among children.

“Research shows poor body image is associated with depression, bullying, eating disorders, risk taking behaviours, and reduced physical activity. Messages like those in the book promote body dissatisfaction.”

She says there are concerns that dieting messages increase disordered eating in children.

This is another sad situation of literature published for the purpose of stirring controversy and making money at the expense of the vulnerable.

Not good enough!

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