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>Read and Grow Thin

>The New York Times is reporting that reading a novel about weight loss can help you lose weight. I’d love to believe this. But don’t.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Under the Covers says:

    >It’s worth a try. But I wonder if reading a novel about rich people will make me rich? Off to hunt down my copy of Gatsby…

  2. Kathryne B Alfred says:

    >I thought reading Gatsby was supposed to make you feel better about NOT being rich?

  3. >I wonder how they control the study–most kids who like a book will seek out the rest in the series. Did they tell the girls who read Charlotte in Paris that they aren’t allowed to read Lake Rescue?


  4. Christina says:

    >Then why aren’t I a wizard yet?!

  5. Roger Sutton says:

    >I’d like to know if the girls in the study talked to each other, or if they were each treated independently. Lotsa variables to be considered here.

  6. >I read Dr. Phil’s weight loss book, hoping I’d both lose weight AND that I’d know what the hell I was thinking. But obviously that didn’t work.

  7. >Is there a reason that I shouldn’t believe the study? There may be methodological reasons as Roger points out but that sounds relatively minor. The claims of the study sound relatively humble – reading doesn’t necessarily lead to weight gain and in fact may have a slight positive effect on young women. As the NYT article notes at the end, giving a book to a young woman can only help, either she will lose weight or it will promote literacy.

  8. Roger Sutton says:

    >Heck, no humans were harmed and perhaps helped, so no problem there. I just wouldn’t want to extrapolate too much from such a study without knowing what its parameters and controls were, and whether it has been successfully replicated with another group. Note, though, that the claim to “promote literacy” is entirely aspirational–all the study looked at was whether the participants read the one book.

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