A New York mother who raised eyebrows when she wrote about putting her then 7-year-old daughter on a strict diet is now happily reporting that the girl is at a healthy weight.
"She's doing fantastically well," mom Dara-Lynn Weiss said on "Today" Tuesday, "We're very happy to report she's maintained a healthy weight. She's really made positive changes in how she approaches this issue."
Weiss wrote about her overweight daughter Bea in. At the time the diet started, Bea was 4 feet, 4 inches and weighed 93 pounds -- technically making her obese according to the Body Mass Index (BMI) for children and teens.
In order to encourage Bea to reach her ideal weight, Weiss -- who struggled with her own body image -- enrolled her in a "Red Light, Green Light" diet program, made her go without dinner when she ate too many calories during a French heritage day at school and banned her from joining in during her school's "Pizza Fridays."
Dr. Joanna Dolgoff, who runs the Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right program that Bea enrolled in, told CBSNews.com in March that she understood why Weiss was so strict about Bea's weight. However, she thought Weiss' methods were wrong, and the daughter and mother stopped attending the counseling sessions so they didn't get the emotional support they needed. Instead, Dolgoff emphasized healthy eating habits so children can be in charge of their own diets.
"We want to empower these kids," Dolgoff said. "Studies show that if you treat overweight kids in a sensitive manner, you do decrease emotional problems."
Childhood obesity has tripled in three decades, according to the. Nearly 20 percent of children between 6 and 11 in 2008 were obese. Obese youth are more likely to have cardiovascular disease like high blood pressure or cholesterol, are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, have higher social and psychological problems, and have risk sleep apnea and prediabetes.
Weiss, who is released a book called "The Heavy: A mother, a daughter, a diet," said she doesn't have to place harsh restrictions on Bea anymore because the now 9-year-old knows how to control her diet.
"I didn't come to this situation saying, 'Well, we're just going to police this in every public situation,' but as the parent of an obese child you become aware of how frequently they're presented with challenges," Weiss said. "And at age 7, they can't necessarily be responsible for responding appropriately."