Monday, August 22, 2011

Tonight's bedtime story: Maggie goes on a Diet?

If your child's overweight, recommended reading for this coming school year may be the soon-to-be released children's book, "Maggie Goes on a Diet."

Written by Paul M. Kramer, who is also awaiting the release of two other books targeted for preteens about difficult "issues kids face today," such as bed wetting and divorce, "Maggie Goes on a Diet" follows an overweight 14-year-old girl from obese outcast to school soccer star. (See story about the book at ABC News.)

Pre-orders for the book are being taken at online bookselling giants Barnes & Noble and Amazon, who have tagged the recommended reading age for the book at 6 to 12 years old and 4 to 8 years old respectively.

I completely support teaching children the values of healthy eating, but should we be concerned when we're marketing the concept of dieting - even if it is in the form of a 44-page children's book - to little boys and girls who haven't even stepped into a Kindergarten classroom yet?

If nothing else, I hope that the book comes with some great conversation starters for parents about what is healthy and normal, what constitutes a well-balanced diet (you know, the food plate that ousted the food pyramid as the nation's way of understanding our daily recommended intake of starches, dairy, fruits, vegetables, protein and shhhh-ugar).

I also hope it comes with a lesson on sensitivity for parents and children. Not everyone will fit into a size 2 dress or little boy shorts well into middle school. Those children who may not eat healthy don't deserve the destruction of their mental health through bullying (the topic of Kramer's 2010 children's book).

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