Maggie Goes on a Diet: Children’s Dieting Book For Girls 6-12 Years Old


They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but today I’m going to make an exception.

Come October bookshelves will be stacked with a new children’s book called Maggie Goes on a Diet. The cover shows a heavy girl holding a pink dress sizes too small for her as she stares longingly at her skinny reflection in a large mirror.

According to the publisher’s website, “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.”

The book’s age range is listed at 6-12 years old by Barnes and Noble where you can pre-order the book now.

Book Causes Concern

Now, I haven’t read this book yet but I’m concerned. I’m all for helping girls develop their confidence and a positive self image but I don’t think promoting dieting is the way to go about this. Girls need to learn that confidence comes from within, from their character, skills and abilities, not their bodies.

There is also the danger of glorifying dieting and being skinny. Girls need to learn that healthy eating and exercise are important not dieting and being thin. Girls also need to learn to accept and respect all body types, not just slender ones.

Fear of Fat

Just this month I covered a study that found that nearly half of the 3- to 6-year-old participants surveyed said they worried about being fat. This fear of fat and body consciousness is very real for young girls throughout their adolescence and beyond.

A book about a girl going on a diet and becoming the school soccer star does nothing to dispel body image concerns. On the contrary, I would argue that a book like this could in all likelihood heighten body consciousness and negatively for girls with crippling self-esteem. In addition, presenting dieting as a quick fix is extremely problematic. Girls need to learn to take care of their bodies through healthy eating and exercise, not dieting.

What do you think? Are you worried about this book or is it too soon to tell?

Related from Care2:

10-Year-Old Model’s Sexy Poses Ignites Debate on the Sexualization of Young Girls

10-Year-Old Model’s Mother Responds to Controversy Over Sexy Pictures

Girls As Young As 3-Years-Old Worry They Are Fat

Photo credit: Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography (D. Sharon Pruitt) used under a Creative Commons license.


Carole R.
Carole R4 years ago

This is disgusting. Growing children should never be put on a "diet". Good nutrition and healthy food from the start is the answer. Keep the children active and away from being couch potatoes. This book opens the door to all kinds of eating disorders in the future. Wake up parents ... give your kids healthy food to eat.

Sienna Joy
Past Member 6 years ago

This is very sad indeed. Is liposuction for toddlers next? 'Diet' potions marketed to children? I'd prefer to not live in a society of malnourished, malformed, cosmetically altered youth. We need to be careful not to confuse genuine concerns about obesity with obsession for thinness.

Zuzana K.
Zuzana K6 years ago

Definitely it is too soon to tell. In the article it says she becomes more confident through 'hard work and exercise' - that to me sounds like it is promoting a healthy lifestyle which is not negative at all!
It's one thing to be imposing anorexic standards of beauty through fashion, but to be promoting healthy eating and exercise is a very positive thing especially if the girl in the story was overweight - after all obesity is unhealthy.

Banbha M.
Banbha M6 years ago

I think people should become afraid of fat! It's unhealthy and it kills. Obesity is more of a problem amongst young people than anorexia is and yet we're afraid to say to tell a child their over-weight because it might hurt their self-esteem, but its going to hurt their future and risk their lives if we don't because lets be honest here children are getting fatter and fatter and we need to stop it!

Paul S.
Paul S6 years ago

Take a look at the 'value' of the diet industry. Get 'em young and they'll be dieting for life.

Carol H.
Carol H.6 years ago

People just need to quit eating JUNK FOOD, FAKE 'PHUDE', and Chemically created 'SODA'..

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago

Anorexics are becoming younger and younger...

Will Rogers
Will Rogers6 years ago

Diets make you fat, and the younger you are the worst it is for you, diet food also makes you fat, but the worst one of them all is diet soda. Most fat people are addicted to it and drink it all the time. Show me a fat person and there's a diet soda near them. There's no short cuts to getting to your right weight, you have to use more than you consume. And Exercise.

Karen Cigna
Karen Cigna6 years ago

I have written a story named "Marge Gets An Eating Disorder" I tried to post it here, but it is too long for posting here, if you are interested fo to my facebook page "Size Of My Life"

Karen Cigna
Karen Cigna6 years ago


@Copyright September 2011, Size Of My Life Inc.

By: Karen Cigna

Marge’s mom called to her that it was time to get up and get ready for school. Marge wondered “How come her mom did not know, although Marge always told her, that Marge woke up every day at 5:30 a.m., a half hour before her parents’ alarm clock went off every morning?” Marge answered her own question “Because my mom never hears anything I say.”

In fact, not only did Marge wake up every day at 5:30 a.m., she had the same conversation inside her own head every day. It went something like this:
“Today, I do not want to wear the jeans and shirt hanging on the handle of my closet, which I settled on after two hours of trying on all of my clothes last night, and deciding, that I looked fat and ugly in everything I own! Why do I have to take after my dad’s family? Mom says the fact that I have a small waist and that I have bigger thighs and a bigger butt than most of my friends (which she also describes as my being “bottom heavy” or “pear shaped”) is, unfortunately, something I will always have to worry about, being short at five feet and three inches. BTW, which means by the way, whenever she says this, which is at least once a day, it makes me want to scream !

Yesterday, I asked Mom to please, please, please take me shopping for some new sweaters, because the boys in school, had been