I’d like to include my own disclaimer right from the start as Susan Norwood did: I am overweight and am not a dietitian. What I am is a skeptical librarian who wants healthy accurate information for her students. I do not trust every flashy new diet book out there, but I do usually talk to my special library friends who work in the health field for more sources.
For example, Susan mentioned the really popular series of books Eat This, Not That. The authors are stating that by simply choosing one food over another, you’ll lose weight. The WebMD review of this title included this phrase:
“The authors promise you will lose weight if you make smarter food choices, but don’t be fooled into thinking that ordering a Big Mac instead of a Whopper with cheese will lead to weight loss as depicted on the book’s cover.”
I found the entire article and comments by Elisa Zied, (MS, RD, the author of Feed Your Family Right, and an American Dietetic Association spokeswoman) helpful as they expanded my thinking.
We must help kids think about childhood obsesity. We need more materials. Where can we turn? I thought I’d point out some of the nonfiction series on food that appeal to students. I’m excluding cookbooks from this list because they are a separate post of their own and very popular.
First, let’s look at Rosen Publishing’s new series Incredibly Disgusting Food which I think this is a must have for your middle school health collection.
After reading Salty and Sugary Snacks: the incredibly disgusting story, I went to the refrigerator and began munching on carrot and celery sticks instead. Here’s one section that really hit me in the gut:
“The American Medical Association believes that obesity plays an important role in the premature deaths of 280,000 U.S. citizens every year. According to the Research and Development Corporation and the University of Chicago, “More Americans are obese than smoke, use illegal drugs, or suffer from ailments unrelated to obesity.”
I trust the materials Rosen Publishing produces on health and wellness. Their Teen Health & Wellness Database is an amazing tool for middle and high schooler’s. When I see they’ve produced new health and teen wellness books, I snap them up.
Sometimes the text reads at a sophisticated level, yet the topic and approach are straightforward and appeal to my readers. This series really sends a clear message on the dangers our teens face with food. I think Michelle Obama would highly support these titles in her quest to eliminate childhood obesity in a generation.
My favorite part of these titles is a page at the end with TEN GREAT QUESTIONS TO ASK A NUTRIONIST. These questions seemed to catch the interest building throughout the entire text and stimulate the reader to want to continue learning. I need answers to these questions.
Look at some of the topics discussed: mass-production, sugar, overweight vs. obese, insulin, glucose regulation, salt, hypertension, additives, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, diet, quality of life, nutrition labels, and exercise. I’m amazed that author Adam Furgang was able to pull together a truly fascinating narrative nonfiction title.
Any of us could predict a title focusing on Fake Foods: Fried, Fast, and Processed. I didn’t expect to consider becoming a vegetarian after reading author Paula Johanson’s text. Moving on to Carbonated Beverages, I thought to myself, how can those be incredibly disgusting? Then I read:
In fact, soft drinks are one of the major culprits in the obesity epidemic in the United States….In addition, tooth decay, bad breath, hyperactivity, depression, gallstones, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and premature death are all possible consequences of drinking carbonated beverages in excess.”
WOW! I had to read on to find out more. Along comes Mysterious Meat: Hot Dogs, Sausages, and Lunch Meats. I’d like to review it for you, but every time I pick up the title, someone else snatches it out of my hands. Even my #3 son who NEVER reads, held on to this for 20 minutes reading, examining the captions, and flipping back and forth. Need I tell you that I don’t plan on eating sausages this month? I think I’ll try some nice fish and nuts. Make that black beans, homegrown, and garden veggies.
All in all, we loved this series. Rosen’s designers so brilliantly included the word disgusting in the title that teens are intrigued and pick them up. Yes! If I can get teens to stop and think about what they are eating, I’ll put the Incredibly Disgusting Food series on my shelves.
If you are looking for something for a little big younger crowd, try Breakfast By the Numbers (Cherry Lake’s Real World Math: Health and Wellness) It includes many healthy food choices with math strategies integrated. This series is written for a younger audience with a smaller font, large line spacing, and five simpler, more focused chapters.