Worst Article Ever?- Mother Puts 7-Year-Old Daughter On Diet

The picture to the right shows a sweet mother and daughter, fashionably dressed, snuggling up close to each other. You would think the article it features is going to be on strengthening your relationship with your daughter or something else positive and heart-touching. What might come as a surprise is that the article, entitled “Weight Watchers,” written in this month’s Vogue magazine is being called the “Worst Article Ever.”

The author, Dara-Lynn Weiss, documents her attempts to put her “obese” 7-year-old daughter, Bea, on a year-long Weight Watchers-type diet in order to lose weight.  Weiss’ approach to her daughter’s weight loss is raising quite a lot of backlash, especially at a time when overweight children are a growing problem in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  17 percent of American children are considered obese.

Weiss,  the mother of  7-year-old Bea, admits she received a wake-up call after her daughter came home crying after being called “fat” at school and the family’s pediatrician said that Bea, standing at 4’4? and weighing 93 pounds, was clinically obese and could be at risk for weight-related problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. After these incidents, Weiss began to put her daughter on a restricted diet.

“I once reproachfully deprived Bea of her dinner after learning that her observation of French Heritage Day at school involved nearly 800 calories of Brie, filet mignon, baguette, and chocolate,” Weiss writes.

Weiss also openly shares about the trials and tribulations she encountered during her attempt to get Bea to trim up.

“I cringe when I recall the many times I had it out with Bea over a snack given to her by a friend’s parent or caregiver … rather than direct my irritation at the grown-up, I often derided Bea for not refusing the inappropriate snack. And there have been many awkward moments at parties, when Bea has wanted to eat, say, both cookies and cake, and I’ve engaged in a heated public discussion about why she can’t,” Weiss writes in the article.

Weiss knows that “no one seems to approve of my methods” and even admits to her own struggles with body issues.

“I have not ingested any food, looked at a restaurant menu, or been sick to the point of vomiting without silently launching a complicated mental algorithm about how it will affect my weight,” Weiss writes, noting she’s tried Atkins, juice fasts, laxatives, Weight Watchers and more to stay thin. “Who was I to teach a little girl how to maintain a healthy weight and body image?”

“When she was given access to cupcakes at a party, I alternated between saying, ‘Let’s not eat that, it’s not good for you’; ‘Okay, fine, go ahead, but just one’; and ‘Bea, you have to stop eating crap like that, you’re getting too heavy,’ depending on my mood. Then I’d secretly eat two when she wasn’t looking,” wrote Weiss.

The woman behind the program that Weiss used to help Bea lose weight, the “Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right,” program told Jezebel writer Katie Baker that she “wasn’t thrilled by the article.”

“The program has to be run by the child,” Dr. Joanna Dolgoff told Baker.   “And the truth is that making a child feel bad only causes problems. It’s not going to help with weight loss, and it’s definitely not going to help the child emotionally.”


Are you, like Dr. Dolgoff, not thrilled with the article? Do you think Weiss’ approach is going to cause problems for Bea?

Daughters learn about body-image, eating habits, and healthy lifestyles from their mothers so what do you think Weiss is teaching her daughter? What would you do differently if you had a daughter that was “overweight?” 





5 thoughts on “Worst Article Ever?- Mother Puts 7-Year-Old Daughter On Diet

  1. I was the overweight daughter. I hit 185 in the 5th grade and then 200 in the 7th grade. I knew I was a “big kid” but I did not realize just how big I was or how serious it was health-wise. I’ve often wondered why my parents never did anything to stop me. I realize now that I can’t blame them, but I do applaud this mother for at least trying to keep her daughter from going down a dangerous path and for acknowledging her own struggles and shortcomings and how they are affecting her parenting. Now it could definitely be argued she is leading her daughter down a different, though equally dangerous, path. I am really surprised that this story has earned the “Worst Article” award, though.

  2. I too was an overweight child. I think what the mother did was appropriate. I applaud her efforts to keep her child healthy.

  3. I think this is a really tough, sensitive issue. It is hard for me as I have never struggled with my weight with the exception of baby weight after giving birth to my first baby. I grew up in a home where I am greatful that my mom always made homemade food. Perhaps not always healty but at least it was home made making it all the more healthy than all these fast foods and unhealty snacks that are around these days. I became really healthy after having children, because they will ultimately copy me and us as a family. The message, do as you preach. Children learn the most from seeing and if you are not eating healthy yourself how can you expect them to be healthy. Making good, delicious and homemade healthy food that children can participate in making perhaps, and teaching them that it is good to look after their bodies by eating healthy and getting enough excercise because our bodies are temples for God. He wants us to look after our bodies. And also allowing treats for parties and perhaps once a week or relaxing a bit over weekends. Everything in moderation. If you don’t allow anything they will only want it all the more.

  4. My mother put my seven year old sister in Weight Watchers. My sister was a “chunky” child as compared to the rest of us. My mother was the first-born daughter of an alcoholic and grew into an adult with many unresolved issues of her own. I am pretty sure we all suffered from my mother’s personality issues, namely what is now termed “narcissistic Personality Disorder”.

    My sister suffered with poor body image and severe depression most of her life. She had gastric bypass surgery about ten years ago and, though there were minor complications, she seemed to enjoy a few years of being thin. Things went downhill when she slowly gained back some of the weight and also gained a severe drinking problem.

    My sister has recently passed away due to malnutrition and alcoholism at age 41.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s