Children’s Book Encourages 6-Year-Old Kids to Diet?

by | August 24, 2011 at 11:09 AM | General

Once upon a time, the plot of yet-to-be-released children’s book Maggie Goes on a Diet sparked great controversy among parents and experts.

Author Paul Kramer defended his tale, written for kids as young as six years old, during a recent Fox News interview. “I’m not advocating that any child should go on a diet,” he said. “This is a change of lifestyle. This is not meant to be to, ‘Go on a diet.’”

But Kramer’s lead character, Maggie, does in fact go on a diet according to the description on Amazon.com: “This book is about 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. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image.”

The customer discussion forum for this book on Amazon.com is alive with anger. Topics bashing the book, on sale Oct. 16, range from “Call Amazon Legal, demand this book be pulled “ to “This book will not help anyone, it will only promote eating disorders.”

And parents aren’t the alone in their disapproval of the message Maggie Goes on a Diet could be sending to young children.

Relationship expert and author Dr. Logan Levkoff chimed in with her opinion.

“There is no question that books like this, that teach our kids to focus on what’s outside and to suggest to them that popularity comes with being thin, it is the wrong message to send to our kids,” Dr. Levkoff explained on “Good Morning America.”

What makes the topic of the book even more troubling is the fact that the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services recently revealed a study concluding eating disorders in children under 12 have risen 119 percent since 2000.

“The only upside to this book is that it gives us an opportunity to talk about how bad our priorities are and give us the opportunity to change them and to say to our kids, this is now who I want you to be,” Dr. Levkoff concluded.