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Parents & Health Experts Frustrated By ‘Diet’ Book

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CBS DFW (con't)

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Theresa Merola Hernandez does everything she can to make sure her girls eat right.  Dinner for the family in Frisco Monday night was chicken, broccoli and some berries for dessert.

“I emphasize fruits and vegetables every day, but I don’t deprive them either,” says Merola Hernandez.

The mother of two won’t be rushing to the book store in October to buy a yet to be released children’s book called ‘Maggie Goes on a Diet.’

The book, about an overweight girl who joins the soccer team after starting a diet and exercise plan, is aimed at girls between 6 and 12.  “There are two words in the book that makes me uncomfortable, and they are two words we don’t use in this house, and that’s diet and fat,” says Merola Hernandez.

Health experts recognize the importance of fighting childhood obesity, but some think the book is sending the wrong message.  “You should never want to encourage dieting,” says Amy Goodson, who is a Texas Health Fort Worth Registered Dietitian “The best thing to do is encourage healthy behaviors.  We want kids to eat nutrition rich foods like string cheese and crackers and peanut butter and apples.”

Goodson works with young kids, and says there’s a better way to teach kids about eating healthy.  She encourages parents to visit eatright.org for recipes and ideas.  “The goal is to help them want to move and exercise by being active,” explains Goodson.

That’s what Merola Hernandez encourages with her girls.  She says she is their best example, “They mimic me.  If I sat around and ate cookies all day, they are going to want to do the same thing, so I make sure I eat healthy.”

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