This book hasn’t even been released yet and it’s already causing a stir. Maggie Goes on a Diet is a book about a young girl who “transforms” her life by going on a diet and losing weight. Although the main character in the book is 14 years old, it is being marketed towards children as young as 4 years old! From Amazon:
“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. ”
So not only is this book telling children that they will lead a better life if they lose some weight, it’s also telling them that there is a “normal” weight to strive for. What about the children who are a bit larger or smaller than other children? Will they feel abnormal because they are not the ‘right size”? If this author is telling children that there is a “normal” size to be, what will his next book be about- normal height? Normal breast size? Normal skin tone or eye colour?
I’m not saying that I support or want to promote childhood obesity but children should not be encouraged to go on diets. Diets are short termed ways to lose some weight. Children should instead be encouraged to develop a healthy lifestyle that lasts for longer than a week or a month. Teach them from the time they are young to choose water over sugary pop, choose fruits and vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods in their meals and snacks and encourage them to get exercise by making it fun- ride their bike to school, join a soccer or softball team, go swimming with friends, limit the amount of screen time every day but NOT go on a diet.
Article from CTV.ca