The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation have selected Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar as literary fodder for their anti-obesity campaign, distributing copies of the best-selling children’s book to 17,500 pediatrician offices across the United States. The iconic story follows a caterpillar’s transformation from larva to butterfly while emphasizing the importance of good nutrition, with the insatiable protagonist experiencing a stomachache after binging on chocolate cake, ice cream and other treats. According to a March 8, 2011, press release, doctors will also receive “growth charts and parent handouts that encourage doctors and parents to have meaningful conversations about the importance of healthy eating.”

“Parents and doctors both play an enormously important role in ensuring children develop healthy eating habits early on in life,” said President Bill Clinton on behalf of the William J. Clinton Foundation, which founded the Alliance for a Healthier Generation with the American Heart Association. “By joining with [AAP] and the classic children’s brand The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we are starting a dialogue between parents and doctors that will go beyond the waiting room and into the home, enabling 21 million children to make more nutritious choices and lead healthier lives.”