Strong 4 Life/Childhood Obesity Campaign

Mrs. - posted on 01/27/2012 ( 7 moms have responded )




From The Washington Post:

"A public health initiative to combat childhood obesity in Georgia is getting what it intended: attention.

At this point, many people’s eyes glaze over when they read the three words “childhood obesity epidemic.” We all know it’s a scourge, that it’s claiming nearly 20 percent of children and adolescents according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s so bad, it’s almost become like its opposite, foreign famine. Something we know is terrible, but we believe too enormous to tackle individually.

So Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta decided to take a new approach to addressing the issue. Its Strong4Life campaign focuses on how devastating obesity can be for an individual child.

The results are bracing.

Not surprisingly the campaign is drawing complaints. Some worry the spots and related billboards exploit the vulnerable children who star in them. Others think they will further stigmatize overweight kids. Others think the focus is all wrong — blame not the kids and parents but the larger forces that lobby for and market sedentary, nutritionally void lifestyles.

“Just wanted you to know that you’re doing a horrible thing. Fat kids shouldn’t stop being fat because they get bullied. It’s the bullies that should be stopped. You’re effectively sanctioning bullying by making the problem with the person getting bullied,” reads a comment on the campaign’s Facebook page.

State health officials created the campaign after a survey revealed that 75 percent of parents in Georgia who have an overweight or obese child do not think it’s a problem. Since the state has the second worse childhood obesity rate in the country (behind Mississippi), officials decided to create the in-your-face campaign.

“We felt like we needed a very arresting, abrupt campaign that said: ‘Hey, Georgia! Wake up. This is a problem,’” Linda Matzigkeit, a senior vice president at Children’s Healthcare, this week told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The campaign includes other less shocking components, such as a Web site with information about obesity and tips for reducing weight. It has also funded pediatrician training and a special weight reduction clinic acco

But it’s the videos and billboards — such as the one with the bold-faced line stretched across an obese young girl’s stomach, “It’s hard to be a little girl if you’re not” — that make the campaign so hard to ignore.

Is that a good thing?

Do we need to be shocked in this way to deal with childhood obesity? Or is this campaign wrenching for the wrong reasons?"

So what do you think? Do we as a society need to be shocked out of our stupor to see the reality of childhood obesity? What do you think about the campaign?

Follow the link for all the spots, but here is one of them:


Mary - posted on 01/29/2012




I don't find them "shocking", because the sad truth is, I see little kids like that girl on a semi-regular basis. They always make me sad, because I know that they are going to get picked on, and be made fun of at school. I may be old, but I do remember that one little girl in my grade school class who was quite chunky. She was always the last one picked for any team, and was often teased and made fun of on the playground when she couldn't run as fast as the rest of us, or climb and swing on the monkey bars without a real struggle.

The "it's the bullies that should be stopped" mentality is just missing the point. I don't think this campaign in anyway "sanctions" bullying; it just acknowledges the fact that it does happen. I think it's point is to push that reality into the faces of the adults responsible for raising these kids. It's saying to them, "Hey - your crappy dietary choices and sedentary lifestyle are doing more than just making your kid obese. It's making your kid a target."

Yes, kids need to be taught that bullying is wrong. Parents and teachers need to intercede and stop it when they see it occurring. However, I don't think that glossing over the reason the victim was being ridiculed is the answer, either.

I will say that my heart does break for the kids that are used in these ads, and I do worry about the impact it could have on them individually. I most sincerely hope that the people responsible for this campaign are not just using them for the ads, but are getting these kids and their parents some thorough help and guidance with getting healthy.


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Tracey - posted on 02/04/2012




IN UK there have been (very few) cases where obese children have been put into care as social services feel their parents are not taking proper care of them. This is after trying to help and giving them medical & nutritional advice for a period of time..

Jenny - posted on 01/29/2012




Shock value is necessary because we are obviously too lazy and stupid to do anything about it so far. It keeps getting worse and worse. I'm damn close to advocating criminal charges for the willful neglect and abuse to these kids. It takes years of lazy parenting to get to that point. It's getting close to time for society to step in and say enough is enough. Stop fucking up your kids.

Mrs. - posted on 01/28/2012




I think they are very effective at getting a point across. I don't know if they will make kids feel worse about themselves or not...but what is happening now, as far as awareness goes, is not working.

Maybe something like this will have an effect.

Rosie - posted on 01/28/2012




i think it is. obviously nobody is paying attention now, maybe this will help. we have to do something, it's getting crazy how many kids are obese. they are killing them slowly, and we just sit around acting like it's their choice to make. if it were the parents slowly suffocating them everyone would be crying out for them to be put in jail. i see no difference, other than this can be changed with education.

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