The self published author Paul Kramer is aiming to release his book “Maggie Goes on a Diet” in Canada in October. The book is written in rhyme and contains fairly simple language. The target audience of the book is aimed at as young as 4 years old.
The front page as shown in the picture above depicts the beginning of the story, where overweight 14 year old Maggie is hoping to fit into her dress. In the first portion of the book you get to see how Maggie is picked on for her weight and comforts herself by eating at night.
Maggie then starts making healthier choices, exercising and suddenly....she's popular and the star of the soccer team! HURRAY!!!
I think this is appalling.
Let me start off by saying that I don't believe in ignoring the issue of childhood obesity, nearly 30% of children in Canada are overweight.
I think educating children and parents on healthy balanced eating and being active is important. However, I think it's terrible to imply that a child must go on a diet to become popular. The book almost implies that self esteem and self worth is based on how one looks.
Now if the book focused on Maggie eating well and growing up to be a healthy adult, I'd have no beef with it, but the book clearly sets a negative tone that in my opinion emphasizes the idea that success is somehow connected to being thin.
This is sick and wrong. Do not buy this book. Teach your kids about the food guide and introduce them to new sports and activities until they find ones that interest them. Don't let them sit at home watching TV for hours on end. Try and limit sugary snacks as much as possible but still offer them as the occasional treat.
No matter what shape or size your child is, there is no reason to put them on a restrictive diet or make comments that imply their self worth is tied into their waist size.
I agree that more must be done to tackle the obesity epidemic, but this is not it.