Family health

Seven diet books for kids

Peter Nieman, a paediatrician with the Pediatric Obesity Clinic in Calgary, weighs in on some new releases and old favourites

By Lisa Murphy

Seven diet books for kids


1 Title: Trim Kids: The Proven 12-Week Plan That Has Helped Thousands of Children Achieve a Healthier Weight By Melinda S. Sothern, T. Kristian von Almen and Heidi Schumacher (HarperCollins)
Selling point: Scientifically tested program with a 65 percent long-term success rate (in clinic).
Expert credibility: The authors have academic and clinical experience.
Pros: Short, structured program, recipes and specific exercises.
Cons: Not enough on emotional and sociological challenges.
Bottom line: A helpful and well-written book.

2 Title: The Sierras Weight-Loss Solution for Teens & Kids by Daniel S. Kirschenbaum, Ryan Craig and Lisa Tjelmeland (Penguin)
Selling point: U.S. boarding school and camp graduates lose big — and keep it off
Expert credibility: Kirschenbaum has an academic background
Pros: Recipes and emphasis on child self-monitoring, behaviour changes
Cons: Not enough detail on exercise
Bottom line: User-friendly and based on an impressive program

3 Title: Weight Watchers Family Power: 5 Simple Rules for a Healthy-Weight Home by Karen Miller-Kovach (Wiley)
Selling point: Simple solutions from a heavyweight commercial brand
Expert credibility: JAMA study found the adult WW program effective long-term
Pros: Nutritious but not too restrictive food advice; emphasis on consistent, whole-family approach
Cons: No detailed exercise examples or recipes
Bottom line: A practical guide that can help families change their lifestyle

4 Title: Ending the Food Fight: Guide Your Child to a Healthy Weight in a Fast Food/Fake Food World by Dr. David Ludwig (Houghton Mifflin)
Selling point: Founder of the low-glycemic diet to combat obesity
Expert credibility: A renowned Harvard University obesity researcher
Pros: Recipes and research-based eating advice
Cons: Psycho-social aspects and exercise not addressed in-depth
Bottom line: Practical and well-researched

5 Title: Dr. Susan’s Kids-Only Weight Loss Guide: The Parent’s Action Plan for Success by Dr. Susan S. Bartell (Parent Positive Press)
Selling point: Dr. Susan has written several books and appeared on The Today Show
Expert credibility: A psychologist who specializes in tweens/teens
Pros: Helpful questionnaire, great analysis of myths and emotional eating
Cons: Could provide more detailed diet and exercise information
Bottom line: An easy to read, patient-friendly book

6 Title: Dr. Sears’ LEAN Kids: A Total Health Program for Children Ages 6 – 11 by William Sears, Peter Sears and Sean Foy (Penguin)
Selling point: America’s foremost parenting expert weighs in
Expert credibility: Sears is a paediatrician but not an obesity specialist
Pros: User-friendly LEAN acronym (lifestyle, exercise, attitude, nutrition); helpful food- prep tips
Cons: Limited to kids between six and 12
Bottom line: Not the best of the bunch

7 Title: Generation XL: Raising Healthy, Intelligent Kids in a High-Tech, Junk-Food World by Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Ben Lerner (Thomas Nelson)
Selling point: Advice from the creator of the natural health website
Expert credibility: Osteopathic physician and a Christian chiropractor
Pros: Highly specific exercises for young kids, plus recipes
Cons: Subjective opinions on fluoride, raw milk and metabolic types
Bottom line: A wellness book with little new to say