First, let me say that I haven't read this book. It will be available in October. I have, though, read the author's description and those at sites taking advance orders. They are shared below.
In the book, Maggie Goes On A Diet, the focus is on Maggie's weight, her low self-esteem, and the cure ... dieting. The cover shows a girl standing in front of a mirror, holding a frilly, pink dress that is too small for her, gazing at the smiling reflection of a smaller version of herself.
On the publisher's site Paul Michael Kramer describes the book:
Maggie has so much potential that has been hiding under her extra weight. This inspiring story about a 14 year old who goes on a diet and is transformed from being overweight and insecure to a normal sized teen who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image.Barnes and Noble lists the book appropriate for 6-12 year olds. Their description:
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.Amazon lists the book appropriate for 4-8 year olds. Their description is the same as Barnes and Noble's.
The author states that "Maggie has so much potential that has been hiding under her extra weight," as if she cannot feel secure or reach her potential unless she diets, loses enough to be considered NORMAL weight, and uncovers it.
Dieting is not the answer. (Diet Myths and Eating Disorders) Does the author not know the connection between diets and eating disorders, or the ever growing issue of low self-esteem and body image?
Eating disorders are being reported in younger and younger children. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, in the US the number of children under the age of 12 who have been hospitalized for an eating disorder has increased by 119% from 1999-2006
- More than 50% of 10 year old girls wish they were thinner
- 8 million people in the US suffer from an ED with 90% being women/girls
- 90 percent of women with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25
- 80% of children are afraid of being fat
- 1 in every 100-200 adolescent girls are affected by Anorexia
- Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents
- Estimated: 11% of high school students have been diagnosed with an eating disorder
- 8 out 10 women are not happy with their reflection
- In your lifetime 50,000 people will die as a direct result of their Eating Disorder.
...But that storybook plot line doesn't reflect what happens in real children's lives, warned Joanne Ikeda, a nutritionist emeritus at
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.
"Body dissatisfaction is a major risk for eating disorders in children all the way up through adulthood," she said.
Furthermore, role models like Maggie can perpetuate the idea that "if you don't look like Cinderella, you're a failure," Ikeda said. "I wouldn't want a child to read this ... because they might, in fact, try to do this and fail. What is that going to do to their self-esteem?"
Read ABC in full here.
Self-esteem and body image issues are a big concern. Children need to be taught that their self-worth is a constant, no matter their appearance. What is important is what is on the inside. They also need to learn to accept others for who they are, no matter what they look like. They need to know that every BODY deserves respect.
The focus should never be on dieting and/or appearance. It should not be suggested that life begins as soon as you are thin and that all your dreams will come true if only you lose that weight. That's a dangerous message for any age. Healthy eating, proper nutrition, and healthy exercise should be a positive part of everyone's life, not dieting.
The Eating Disorders Coalition is asking that you make your voice be heard in this matter.
What's your opinion? Leave a comment and let us all know.
*Please note: I don't usually link so heavily in my posts but the volume of information and statistics are too many to list individually and thought it necessary to make them available.
©Weighing The Facts