I'm hoping that this image makes you as angry as it makes me. Unfortunately, we're not just judging this book by its cover: "Maggie Goes On A Diet" is a book about a girl who is bullied because she's fat - and instead of getting help from her peers or an adult, she decides to lose weight and eventually finds happiness as school's soccer star. "Maggie is accepting that kids are mean and kids can be mean and she has decided to do something about it, to take things in her own hands, try to change her own life, try to make herself healthy by exercising. She does want to look better. She does want to feel better and she does not want to be teased," says the author, Paul Kramer.
Never mind that obese school children are 63 percent more likely to be bullied than their peers; never mind that bullying itself can cause children's weight to fluctuate; never mind that bullies choose victims based on social factors - let's focus on the child's PERSONAL HABITS. (/sarcasm.) Unfortunately, anti-fat bias has been found even in health professionals specializing in obesity.
We want our kids to grow up happy, healthy and safe - certainly, diet-related diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer are serious issues and we want to protect our children from them. That being said, we need to take care that we are not judging children's personal habits by an arbitrary standard set by the media, and not by objective health professionals ...and we shouldn't be judging children's bodies at all.