A new children’s book called 'Maggie goes on a Diet’ is already causing a lot of controversy despite the fact that it is yet to be released. The book, which is written in verse is aimed at those as young as six, and tells the story of how young girl ‘transforms’ her life and becomes a school hero by losing weight. However, parents and eating disorder experts have condemned the book for sending out a dangerous message to vulnerable children and adolescents.
About the controversial book
Maggie goes on a Diet’ is written by children’s author and father, Paul M. Kramer, who will publishing the book himself as a follow-up to his other children’s titles including ‘Bullies Beware’ and Divorce Stinks’. According to a summary posted on the book’s website, the plot features ‘A 14-year-old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal-sized girl who becomes the school soccer star’. It continues: ‘Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self-image‘.
It’s a Time Bomb
One woman who is particularly concerned, is Christine Gibson, of South-West London, whose 16 year old daughter died of a heart attack, following a post Christmas diet that developed into Anorexia. Mrs Gibson is convinced that it does not take much to trigger an eating disorder in young girls, and believes the book is a time bomb.
Mrs Gibson’s concerns are echoed by professionals, and according to Joanna Ikeda, a nutritionist at the University of California, children as young as six already believe that their physical size tells the world what sort of person they are and that being bigger equals unpopularity. However, according to the author himself, the book is merely intended as a tool for children the tackle some of the issues they face today.
Making sensible choices
Children are undoubtedly susceptible to societal messages and in particular messages endorsed by their parents. While many children will not be affected by journey of the heroine of the book, some might interpret from the book that the way to become successful is to lose weight. Perhaps placing the focus on healthy eating would be a better way to tackle the issue of increasing prevalence rates of child and adult obesity. An eating disorder is a devastating illness that robs a child of their childhood, which is why erring on the side of caution when it comes to bedtime reading for your child, might be the most sensible thing to do.