Fictional Children's Book Breaks New Ground
in Fight Against Childhood Obesity

Relieves emotional burden of overweight and obese kids harboring self-blame; depicts tactical ways children can make healthy lifestyle changes

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - With the litany of staggering statistics related to childhood obesity well in mind, two-time bodybuilding champion and lifelong health and fitness advocate Merilee A. Kern, MBA, today announced the release of her fictional children's book It's Not Your Fault That You're Overweight - A Story of Enlightenment, Empowerment and Accomplishment for Overweight and Obese Kids ( This first-of-its-kind fictional story has been heralded by an array of health industry experts for both its viability in helping overweight kids get on a healthy track, as well as motivating those within a healthy weight range to not only continue making wise lifestyle choices, but also better understand and empathize with peers currently struggling with a weight problem.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 20 percent of American children are either overweight or obese and, unfortunately, these numbers continue to rise," said Susan Burke, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE, chief dietitian for®. "This book is a wonderful tool to help those kids struggling with a weight problem recognize the overwhelming number of influences outside their span of control, which have negatively impacted their decision making. As importantly, this book can help lessen the emotional weight carried by children who have internalized sole responsibility for their condition, and are harboring displaced blame or guilt that is actually perpetuating the problem."

Written for children ages 8 through 13, the paperback, as well as the Coloring and Activity E-Book adaptation for children 7 and under, uniquely depicts an average overweight American child as (s)he encounters - and ultimately overcomes - the emotional and physical challenges associated with an adolescent overweight condition. This first-of-its-kind children's story, which is available in both male and female-specific editions, uses a non-combative, relatable style to engage, entertain and appeal to young readers' emotions without invoking feelings of defensiveness or other distress that kids' often experience when discussing this highly sensitive topic. In the end, "It's Not Your Fault That You're Overweight" is a tale of hope that spotlights a representative overweight American child who, by better understanding society's many pressures and influences as well as the importance of living healthfully, achieves his/her goal of living a healthier, happier life.

"This story is intended to lessen the emotional burden carried by far too many children who solely blame them self for being overweight or obese. Releasing this burden allows these kids to re-focus their emotional and physical energy on making positive, healthful changes in their life," said Kern. "Optimally, one or both parents will read this story aloud with their child, and key in on those specific scenes that resonate the most. For those parents who have yet to establish dialogue on the subject of their child's weight problem, or for those parents who are at their wit's end having seemingly 'tried it all', this book offers a unique opportunity for children to know that someone 'does' understand their struggle and that there are relatively easy changes that can be made that will result in a better lifestyle."

Through both easy-to-read text and endearing illustrations by esteemed artist Jerry DeCrotie, "It's Not Your Fault That You're Overweight" portrays the overwhelming amount of commercial, organizational and social stimulus that, on both a conscious and subconscious level, adversely affects the lifestyle choices - and subsequent health - of our nation's youth. It also empowers its young readers to recognize and combat the constant stream of negative cultural influences, motivates them to make decisive changes in their lifestyle, illustrates practical behaviors that will help improve their health, and encourages children by depicting how their life can benefit if their weight is under control.

Parents concur. Randy DeLue of San Diego, California offers his perspective: "Although my children are not overweight, reading this important and timely book with them opened the door for me to engage them in thoughtful discussion about personal lifestyle choices that definitely had room for improvement. My 6 and 8-year old kids now realize that they have quite a bit of control over their own health, and that good choices lead to good results in many areas of their life. They also now put much more thought into selecting their snack options and, although they do occasionally want the sugary stuff, it's with less frequency, and they've actually started asking health related questions about the food they are being served at home. This publication has proven to be a sorely needed catalyst for my family to discuss this all-important topic in a gentle and effective manner, and I consider it a 'must read' for families whether or not a weight problem exists."

"It's Not Your Fault That You're Overweight" features a Forward by Julia Griggs Havey, Motivational Speaker and Author of Awaken The Diet Within among other titles, as well as a "Parent's Section" that includes parent-child discussion questions and a "Healthy Living Tip Sheet" by the experts at® (NASDAQ:DIET), a leading nutrition, fitness and healthy living destination.

Warren Gendel, founder and CEO of Fitwize 4 Kids - America's fastest growing chain of children's gymnasiums, notes, "Our company's fundamental mission is to enhance kids' collective understanding of how to make wise lifestyle choices, and to instill the motivation and desire to get - and stay - on a healthy track throughout their lifetime. Ms. Kern's new children's book is a fantastic tool in working toward this end, and I commend her efforts to champion the health of our nation's youth."

The gender-specific paperback versions of "It's Not Your Fault That You're Overweight" for 8 to 13-year olds can be purchased online at,, and - suggested list price is $11.95. The Coloring and Activity E-Book adaptation for children ages 7 and under can also be purchased online at - list price $4.95.

About the Author
Child health advocate Merilee A. Kern, MBA is the Co-Founder and CEO of Healthy Kids' Catalog ( - an online storefront offering a wide array of "Solutions That Foster Healthy Children™." Ms. Kern has worked in the $48-billion plus weight loss industry for over half a decade, including a multi-year tenure as a marketing executive with, Inc. (NASDAQ:DIET), a leading online nutrition, fitness and healthy living destination. Ms. Kern is a life-long fitness enthusiast and former bodybuilding champion twice over. She has spent all of her adult years devoted to good nutrition, fitness and healthy living - a lifestyle that she, together with her husband whom she met at the gym, now impart on their two young children. She earned both her Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science degree from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She can be reached via email at or via telephone at 858-577-0206.

Note to Editors: If you would like to receive a free reviewer's hard and/or electronic PDF-formatted copy of this title, please contact Merilee Kern at 858-577-0206 or with your format (hard copy or electronic) and edition (boy, girl, or both) preference as well as your shipping information, if required. To access an online zip file containing the front and back cover jacket design, including health expert endorsements, for both editions along with story and illustration excerpts, go to Additional information, including childhood obesity statistics, can be found at