Maggie goes on a Diet: Childhood Obesity

When I was a little girl, I was never a twig. I ate Happy Meals, but I was a three sport child so I was always active. I never thought twice about what I ate, and my parents never shunned my eating habits. I was a happy and healthy tomboy. I will never be petite; it's not in my genetic make-up, and you know what?..that it A-OK with me. I admire my tree-trunk thighs and strong calves, they complete me.

Of course, everyone has a few body parts they'd like to shrink or enlarge, but I'm lucky to have grown up in an accepting and supportive family environment. But I stop to wonder: if my parents were judgmental during my "heftier" years, would my self-image suffer?

There is a semi-new, contraversial children's book titled, Maggie goes on a Diet. Maggie is an overweight, insecure, little girl who resembles Pippy Longstockings. The book describes her journey to a healthier life-style with the help of exercise and a hard-working mentality. The crazy thing is that the book is being marketed to youth as young as four. Four! I think if a four-year-old is overweight (minus genetics), then the parents are responsible for the unhealthy life style not the children. A child isn't going to say "No mother, I don't want a Happy Meal; it will go straight to my hips." No!, they're gonna be like "Hell yeah, I want those fries and Transformers toy". 

At the end of the book, Maggie is a skinny soccer star. The book is basically telling children that they have count calories to be successful. Skinny = Popular. Fat Maggie = Sad. Skinny Maggie = Happy. I understand the concept the book is trying to make, but it's not the child's responsibility to take that initiative...it's the parents. A four year old is not going to pick up this book and instantly enroll in Weight Watchers. The key is living a healthy lifestyle because diets are often short-lived and unsuccessful.

It's the family's responsibility to raise their children in an environment where health is valued and not a value-meal.



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