By now, many of you have probably heard about the upcoming and controversial children’s book called “Maggie Goes on a Diet.”
It won’t be released until October, but it’s already being criticized by parents and bloggers around the world. The web headlines are harsh. A blog post for the Guardian in the UK writes: “A diet book for six-year-olds: Worst idea ever?” The Huffington Post’s article reads,”Disturbing New Children’s book…Encourages Young Girls to Diet.”
Problem is, every one of these writers — including big media outlets such as ABC News – had a very big hole in their write-ups. They didn’t have the author’s side of the story.
While I was at work today, I reached out to Paul M. Kramer through email with a simple question: What’s your side of the story? A couple hours later, he called me back in the newsroom and said he woke up to thousands of emails and phone messages. No one has read his book, but some people are already disgusted by it.
So what’s his reaction? Is it really a diet book for kids? Here’s what the author of “Maggie Goes on a Diet” said:
“A six-year-old shouldn’t be dieting, but if a six-year-old does not eat properly and a six-year-old just stuffs sugar and carbohydrates into their mouth all day long and doesn’t eat foods that are healthy for them, that six-year-old will also turn to and be obese.”
While talking to him on the phone, Kramer seemed genuinely concerned about the issue. He went on to say:
“I’m not advocating that that six-year-old go on a diet in any way shape or form, but if that six-year-old sees somebody 14-years-old who had a similar problem that they have or had, then they may have an incentive to want to be smarter about what they eat and at least try to eat nutritious foods so they can be healthier. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”
|Paul M. Kramer, Author|
To be fair, I also spoke with a Nutrition Therapist/Registered Dietitian who said “restricting calories” is the number one risk factor for teens succumbing to eating disorders.
“Dieting is something that should be discouraged in kids and teens,” said Daryl Smith-Oswald. ”I suggest we label dieting: ‘Keep out of reach of children!!’”
Amazon lists the book as having a reading level of ages 4-8. Its product description reads as follows:
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.
Kramer tells me he wanted to inspire young children. His book can be pre-ordered now on Amazonor bought in October.