We cannot ignore the fact that some children are obese and that may lead to self-esteem, body image, confidence, and serious long-term physical health issues. I understand that this is a complex issue that needs to be addressed. But this type of book, with that type of title, isn’t the way to go about making a positive change. This book is irresponsible and sends an unhealthy message.
The writer, Paul Kramer, says this book is about a fourteen-year-old girl, but the girl on the cover looks about seven. Either way it’s bad news. Amazon markets the book to ages 6 and up. “Maggie Goes on a Diet” is a misguided attempt to address the weight epidemic among kids and teens and is a potential eating disorder trigger. Highlighting imperfections in a boy’s or girl’s body does not empower a child to adopt good eating habits or become healthy and no child should be made to feel socially ‘unacceptable’ based on their size.
A diet is not the answer to becoming popular or a super star, as this book suggests. Encouraging healthy eating and being active would be more appropriate as opposed to promoting dieting. This book is contributes to the false theory that being thinner “fixes” everything. Being thin does not guarantee living happily ever after.
Diets and children are not a good mix. I want my kids to have life-long healthy relationships with food and their bodies. By modeling a healthy lifestyle, we can teach our children to celebrate their bodies, savor food, and be active for life. Dieting, which includes food deprivation, restrictive eating, excessive exercise, and negative body talk, can lead to low self-esteem, negative body image, and serious eating disorders.
I have heard first-hand, from women who dieted as children, who expressed the horrible physical, mental, and social consequences and warped thinking that diets lead to—I even know someone who died from the affects of childhood dieting because it led to her disorder eating, which spiraled out of control. I also know women who have wrecked their metabolism, become obese, become anorexic, suffer from body image issues, or lost teeth from binging that started as “innocent” childhood dieting and food vilification.
Kids have immense societal pressures to look and act a certain way. They hear criticism from each other and hear kids criticizing themselves. That is why it is so important for us parents to be our children’s safe haven where there is no judging, teasing, or expectations to be perfect. Kids will go though phases when they will be thin or put on extra weight before growth spurts, or at the onset of puberty. We need to let kids know that they are exactly the way they are, help build their self-esteem and confidence, and give them the tools they need to thrive.
We need books for girls that promote a healthy lifestyle and that exemplifies a positive image of self-worth based on a person’s character, not based on weight or shape. The author may have good intentions, but the “Maggie Goes on a Diet” sends a bad message.
I say boycott the book and send your letters to Aloha Publishers.