You’ve probably all read about this, perhaps even formulated opinions, but I just have to comment on Paul Kramer’s children’s book Maggie Goes on a Diet. As you can infer from the title, Kramer’s not-yet-released work has been lambasted by parents, eating disorder groups and nutrition experts for its “psychologically damaging” message that dieting brings happiness and success. My two cents: That critique is a clear case of judging a book by its cover (need I point out that no one has yet cracked a copy?).
Anyway, I think it’s important to educate kids about the importance of well-balanced eating and exercise. As children often learn through storytelling, having a vehicle like Maggie to impart that lesson makes sense, plain and simple. Where I take issue is with fat-phobic parents who may use it as a tool to shame their kids into adopting the mentality that skinny is synonymous with healthy. That message is fraught with problems, possibly leading to negative body image and dangerous eating habits. But these folks are outliers—the most extreme examples —and not everyone who encourages healthful living is out to create a cookie-cutter world of thin people. In fact, I’d argue that good parenting means teaching kids about nutrition and supporting physical activity.
At the end of the day, if you find the book offensive, then don’t buy it for your kid. What do you think?
Posted by Abby