For parents who are concerned that their kids are gaining too much weight, author Paul Kramer thinks he has the perfect solution. Introducing his new book “Maggie Goes on a Diet.” On explaining his intentions for writing the book: “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.”
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While I think his intentions are all there, and that childhood obesity is damn wrong — I don’t think there should be a book with the word “diet” on the cover. Could you imagine as a kid getting this book from a parent? “Happy birthday Maggie, now go on a diet.” I would be mortified. My self esteem would just plummet. If you’re concerned about your child’s weight gain — here’s an idea: teach them healthy eating yourself. Don’t feed them ideas that they’re ugly or tell them they need a “diet.”Cook healthier. Feed them healthier. Encourage activity and sports and running around rather than allowing them to sit in front of the TV or Xbox. Common sense here — if you buy healthy foods in your home, and avoid all junk food — or buy “fake junk food“, you’re changing your child’s eating habits for the better, and simultaneously changing yours as well.
The book is aimed at kids aged 6-12. Really!? Kids, especially young girls, are extremely susceptible to body image issues (especially entering their teen years). This book, even though it has good intentions, is an eating disorder waiting to happen. Parents, educate your kids on healthy eating and exercise — don’t rely on this book to do it for you. And for God’s sake — don’t tell your six year old they need to go on a diet. Stop buying McDonald’s, and promote healthy eating.
Fun fact: If you clicked on the link “fake junk food”, you will have read a new study suggesting that when we know we are about to eat junk food, we experience significant highs in a gut hormone that triggers us into thinking we are fuller faster. This, according to researchers, could mean that we take in more calories from health foods, or foods labeled “low-fat”, than we do indulgent treats.
“When you are dieting, you want to eat fewer actual calories, but the mind-set of ‘Okay, I’ve got to eat sensibly, I’ve got to eat low-fat,’ … regardless of what you are eating, is actually countereffective,” study researcher Alia Crum of Yale University said. “It’s telling your body, ‘I’m not getting enough,’ which relays back to your brain, “I’m not getting enough.”
Source of information: May 28, Association for Psychological Science conference. May 16, Health Psychology.