Diets For Children

I stumbled across an article that discussed a book that is creating controversy before it has even been published. The book, Maggie Goes on a Diet by Paul M. Kramer, is a book aimed at children from ages 6-12 that follows a fourteen year-old girl who goes on a diet.

The description reads:

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 cover art of the book does not help the authors case that he is promoting healthy eating.



Yes, we have an obesity problem in this country, especially amongst children but is marketing a book to young girls about a girl who goes on a diet, the answer? I think the causes of obesity are so complex ranging from homes where parents have to work multiple jobs and do not have the time to prepare healthful meals to the food deserts that many Americans live in, and cutting Gym and sports programs from schools. These are just a few of causes. I would also err on the side that having young (ages 6-12) girls thinking about dieting, in a society where they are already inundated with images of what is deemed ideal, is not the right way to motivate them to eat well and be active. It is a recipe for disordered eating and low self-esteem.

We can help young people learn about nutrition and healthy habits without shaming them. My town has a community garden. This garden has partnered with local schools to have their kids visit garden, help with plantings, and learn about fruits and vegetables. This is a positive way for kids to learn about food and get exercise. Programs like this one are small ways that we can make a dent in childhood obesity without ever using the word diet.

What do you think about the book?

Fitness Friday Blog Hop

17 thoughts on “Diets For Children

  1. I’m not ever a fan of the word “diet” ESPECIALLY about children. My niece has always been chubby (and her mother was a chubby kid) and the way they’re dealing with it is by putting her on a “diet” and going running. The girl plays softball practically every day and is a star. Her athleticism isn’t the problem it’s the junk she’s fed. Personal rant over – I think it’s unnecessary to blame children for being overweight. This book should be targeted towards the parents. Kids’ self esteem is already so fragile, they don’t need to be told they’re overweight and it’s their fault and their problem to fix.
    Katherina @ Zephyr Runs recently posted..The Best Day EverMy Profile

  2. Hi Dina, I found you via Jill’s Fitness Friday blog hop.
    While I agree that it’s good to combat childhood obesity, I don’t necessarily agree with putting them on a diet, or at least calling it a diet. I think we need to be careful about our choice of words around children. Nothing wrong with having them eating healthier, but you don’t have to tell them they’re on a diet. Also, encourage more activity for the benefits of healthy and energy, not because you’ll fit into a dress. If I was a parent, I wouldn’t be purchasing this book for my child and I would hope that it couldn’t be found in school libraries.
    Michelle S. recently posted..Advice NeededMy Profile

    • You’re right the word diet is problematic here. Living a healthy life, eating well, and exercise should not be a temporary thing you do for the physical benefits but a lifestyle change. That makes it much easier to stick to than a diet.
      Dina recently posted..Diets For ChildrenMy Profile

  3. Not a fan of this book – the title and the cover turn me off immediately. I think approaching our country’s eating and exercise habits from another (healthier) angle is the way to go. Not the promise of fitting into the next pretty dress. These are the people that I wonder how in the world they got a book published!
    Amy recently posted..Rest day!My Profile

  4. No kid should be on a diet, or any adult for that matter. I’m not a fan of that word, because it’s not realistic — most of us can’t stick to diets. Instead we should focus on building healthy eating habits, making a lifestyle change. Now that I can support! :)
    Carolina @ Peas in a Blog recently posted..Crossfit.My Profile

  5. i agree that no kid should be on a “diet”, although I do think that parents need to watch what their children are eating and help them monitor what they are choosing to eat. to tell a kid they are fat and on a diet is wrong. if the parent really feels that way then they need to look at what foods they are buying for their child. just bc a kid wants a happy meal doesnt mean the parent has to take them to mcdonalds!!
    crystal recently posted..Going strong and a new planMy Profile

  6. wowza! healthy eating isnt a diet and its sad that seems like what the author is trying to promote with its description! wouldnt you feel awful if your parent brought you home a book like this? makes me sad and while I am totally for healthy eating, a diet is not that!

  7. Hi Dina,
    Found you via the Friday Blog Hop.
    I would never buy a book with this title. I have a 9-year old daughter who has food issues already (not weight-related, more about taste and texture) and don’t want to create any more.
    I have friends who tell me their young girls are already dieting and obsessing about their weight. This does not surprise me given that these friends do the same thing themselves!
    We have to be oh so careful how we talk about our bodies around our children (and in fact, around ourselves; negative self-talk is the cause of most body issue problems). I try not to label food ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and only using the ‘f’ word when talking about the components of food (i.e., carbs, protein and fats).
    Thanks for getting us to think about this one some more!

  8. Well, I guess everyone has pretty much said it — eat healthy and exercise….NOT DIET! I think the parents need to set a good example. By eating healthy and exercising with their kids!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge