London, Aug 19 (ANI): A diet book targeted at girls as young as six has sparked outrage among American nutrition experts.
The book ‘Maggie Goes On A Diet’ tells the story of a heavily overweight 14-year-old girl who becomes a school football star after losing weight.
“Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self-image,” the book read.
Critics have said the right people to target in order to combat childhood obesity were parents, and books with titles such as Fit Kids and Underage and Overweight are aimed at parents, the Independent reports.
“We know concerns about weight, size and shape are beginning to affect children at ever younger ages. Six and seven-year-olds already believe that their size tells the world what sort of person they are, and that big equals fat equals unpopular,” said Susan Ringwood, chief executive of the eating disorders charity Beat.
“Diets by themselves don’t directly cause eating disorders, but the combination with low self-esteem caused by body-image issues raises the risk significantly,” she said.
“Children should only be dieting with medical supervision and with their GP’s involvement. They should be gaining weight steadily as they grow into adulthood, and need the full range of nutrients and adequate calories to develop healthily,” she added.
Many other nutrition experts also believe that the book misguides children and it is important for them to develop a healthy attitude towards food and to maintain a healthy body image throughout their teenage years. (ANI)