A new children’s book about dieting has sparked media controversy from some claiming it promotes eating disorders.
Maggie Goes on a Diet, due out in October, is about an overweight 14-year-old girl with low self-esteem who changes her life after losing weight from diet and exercise.
According to the book’s description on Amazon.com, the teen “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 book is geared for children ages 4 to 8.
On the cover, a seemingly heavy girl holding up a dress to herself in the mirror, sees her reflection as a significantly thinner version of herself.
Although the blogosphere has been flooded with criticism of author Paul M. Kramer, saying that young girls can develop anorexia from the overall portrayed message of the book, others applaud Kramer.
Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of FoxNews.com, said he thinks the book has a positive theme.
“To think that this book is going to create anorexia in 5-year-olds is ludicrous. This seems to be a well-thought out book about a young woman who wants to change her life for the better, for herself, and she is sharing that experience with others,” Alvarez said.
He pointed out there are countless books aimed at adults and weight loss, and that children should learn the same healthy habits—and the earlier, the better.
“For me, a young woman who shares that she feels overweight and so she watches what she eats, exercises and reveals how good she feels, in my opinion, can only inspire positive thoughts,” Alvarez said, “There is nothing more positive than a teenage girl focusing on the right things.”
On Fox News Channel’s Happening Now Tuesday, Kramer defended his book.
“I am not advocating, and never did, that children should go on a diet. This is a change of lifestyle, this is not meant to be to go on a diet,” he said. “If one is obese and one loses a bunch of weight and one becomes fit, I think the rewards of just accomplishing that is good enough, whether they become a soccer star or not. “
Kramer is the author of other books that he says address the issues that kids face today, including bullying, bed-wetting and divorce.