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obesity prevention
childhood obesity epidemic
child obesity
three quarters
obese children
tag lines
saying things
junk food
Georgia Childhood Obesity Prevention Ad Campaign Stirs Controversy: Are The Ads Equal To Bullying?
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Georgia Childhood Obesity Prevention Ad Campaign Stirs Controversy: Are the Ads Equal to Bullying?

The childhood obesity epidemic keeps worsening across the United States. Mississippi has the dubious honor of being the state with the highest child obesity rate but Georgia is not far behind it. An estimated forty percent of the children in the state are either overweight or obese according to the most recent statistics and is only getting higher. In an effort to get a grip on that epidemic, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has started the Strong4Life Campaign which is setting its sites on drawing attention to the problem, dragging it out into the light and then getting to work to end it once and for all.

The ad campaign, featuring stark, black and white images and in your face copy, are being heralded as cutting edge and breakthrough by some while being decried as nothing more than organized bullying by others. But, according to the Senior Vice President of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Linda Matzigkeit, the ads were meant to be "in your face" to wake people up and make them see what was happening all around them.

In a recent survey performed in the state, fifty percent of respondents did not see childhood obesity as a "serious" problem in Georgia while three quarters of the parents who had overweight or obese children did not see a weight issue with their child at all. That denial and constant rationalizing is only part of the growing problem in the state and across the nation.

In one of the ads, a young boy asks his mother, herself obviously obese, why he is fat while in another, the mother tries to give reasons and excuses for her daughter's weight as well as her diabetes, saying things such as she didn't "know that junk food was such a problem" or that all of the women in the family were "thick". Tag lines are included in all of the ads, ranging from "Stop sugar coating it, Georgia" to "It's no fun being a little kid when you aren't"

One group, the Obesity Action Coalition has written a letter demanding that the ads be stopped or changed, saying in part that the ads only promote and encourage all of the negative stigmas and weight bias that obesity groups have worked so hard to fight against. The ads, the group added in their letter, is nothing short of bullying, the same bullying that these kids must endure in school and in other places without having to see those words in these ads.

Comments on the Facebook page for Strong4Life have ranged from calling the ads insensitive to calling them brilliant and praising the efforts.


Street Talk

Amie, Thanks for pointing out the need for kindness! blessings, Cynthia

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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