Controversial Children’s Book Targets Teen Dieting

When you read Bridget Jones’ Diary, you expect to learn about the character’s relationship with food. But when you crack open a children’s book to read to your 5-year-old, food and diet plans are the last things you expect to read about.

Maggie Goes On a Diet is a new book by Paul Kramer that targets just that: child and teen dieting.

The book — due out in October — is already making headlines for its controversial topic. While the author says it’s his way of teaching kids about leading a healthy lifestyle, experts say children under the age of 16 are far too young to be concerned about caloric intake. Though the country is leading the way in child obesity, they say writing children’s books about getting fit and thereby becoming popular, is not the right way to go about dealing with the issue.

According to this ABC article, experts also call the storyline unrealistic:

Weight-loss experts say that the storybook plotline doesn’t reflect what happens in real children’s lives. Joanne Ikeda is the co-founding director of the University of California at Berkeley’s Center on Weight and Health.

Highlighting imperfections in a boy’s or girl’s body “does not empower a child to adopt good eating habits,” Ikeda said.

In real life, dieting down to a smaller clothing size doesn’t guarantee living happily ever after.

In his defense, the author says this was his attempt at teaching kids to exercise, eat healthy, and feel good about themselves.

What do you guys think? Is this children’s book going too far?

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Controversial Children’s Book Targets Teen Dieting

  1. I am a former special education teacher and I wrote a children’s picture book that tackles the issue of childhood obesity. Hunka Chunka Monkey Shapes Up entertains children without being preachy. It places a simple truth as a foundation in their hearts…..to cut back on their favorite snack, become active and make new friends.

    Chris Powell of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition reads my book to his children every night. He stated on his FaceBook, “The kids are requesting Hunka Chunka Monkey Shapes Up for their bedtime story tonight….AGAIN! This is the third in a row, but I love it. What a great message of healthy living for children:). Nicely done, Sam E Bromley!” Chris’s wife, Heidi Powell, used such words as ‘amazing’ and ‘brilliant’ when describing my story! I am excited about getting this message out. You can go to YouTube.com and type in my book’s name: Hunka Chunka Monkey Shapes Up and see a brief message about my story! Please pass this on for all to see and partner with me and let us stop the obesity problem in America by encouraging the very young to skip, run and jump their way to a better life and a better future!

    Sam E Bromley
    http://www.hunkamonkey.com
    sebnest@yahoo.com

  2. Jake

    While it might not equal instant popularity, there is certainly something to be said for looking good and being healthy. This is especially important in the department of Self-Confidence, something that we seem constantly worried about in children and teens.

    Perhaps “five years old” and “childrens books” are the wrong places for this information to be – but discussions on a healthy (and maintainable) diet and lifestyle, rather than crash dieting and eating disorders are something that we need to make a serious effort to bring to every child in America. Perhaps this book is targeted too young, and perhaps it is the wrong way to tackle the problem, but someone needs to be educating these young people, and I don’t see any of those “experts” stepping up.

  3. I can’t imagine that this is the way to get kids to be healthy. It would be better to encourage good eating habits and a healthy lifestyle because to be honest most diets don’t work for people of any age. Lifestyle changes are what you really need.

    Show girls a positive role model that is not concerned with her looks if you want to get it right. One good suggestion is A Tale of Three ( I got it on Amazon for my niece’s birthday) and it is a much better choice for young ladies.

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