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Ending the Food Fight: Guide Your Child to a Healthy Weight in a Fast Food/Fake Food World

Book Review

Ending the Food Fight: Guide Your Child to a Healthy Weight in a Fast Food/Fake Food World
By David Ludwig, MD
Houghton Mifflin (2007)
Reviewed by Melinda Johnson, MS, RD

Claims

The book claims a low-glycemic diet and a nine-week plan focusing on biology, behavior and environment will lead to weight loss for children.

Diet Plan

Before the nine-week program begins, the book advises a week of preparation in which a family takes stock of its typical eating and activity habits. The program is designed to be gradual with each week focusing on a central theme, a featured food and exercise. It recommends specific goals for each week, a weekly diary for self monitoring and a reward system for meeting goals. A chapter is devoted to recipe and meal ideas, but no sample meal plan is provided. A shopping plan and a list of foods are provided, containing items listed as having low, moderate and high glycemic loads.

Nutritional Pros and Cons

My main concern is dieting for children may ultimately lead to weight gain in adolescents because it fosters the development of certain behavioral patterns such as binge eating. Though the book is intended as a lifestyle makeover for the family, it still has a "diet book" feel and may cause more harm than good in well-meaning families who use it with a diet mentality.

The book also heavily promotes using the glycemic index for choosing foods for weight loss, which is controversial and highly debated in the medical field. On the plus side, the diet seems fairly balanced and nutritious, and the author emphasizes making changes for the entire family and not singling out the overweight child.

Bottom Line

This book may be helpful for families with an overweight child, but only if they are working closely with a registered dietitian or other qualified health-care professional who can help them avoid more disordered eating. Better books are available for families with younger or normal weight children.