"Rescuing the Emotional Lives of Overweight Children" (Rodale, $21.95) takes a different tack in addressing the burgeoning public health crisis of obesity, considering, as its subtitle suggests, "what our kids go through -- and how we can help."
Sylvia Rimm is about as high-profile as a Cleveland-based child psychologist can be. She is a syndicated columnist and bestselling author of "See Jane Win," an examination of the nurturing roots of successful women. In this book she enlists as co-author her son, Harvard nutritional epidemiologist Eric Rimm.
The Rimms draw on findings from Sylvia's survey of more than 5,400 middle-schoolers to reveal how kids -- overweight and not -- regard themselves and others around weight issues. The kids' voices are used throughout to show how weight equates with caste and how some kids work to improve their lot.
The advice, whether voiced by kids (joining sports teams, enlisting the support of popular peers) or drawn from the Rimms' "Six-Step Healthy Rescue Plan" (including designing exercise and nutrition plans), seem easier said than done. Not everyone can, for example, hire a nutritionist to help plan more healthful meals.
The Rimms address an aspect of the obesity crisis that has been underaddressed. Their book may be profitably read whether you're the parent of an overweight child or someone (teachers and counselors often fall prey, the book says) who contributes to this emotional trauma in your dealings with "that poor, fat kid."