Archive for the tag - childhood obesity

Controversial Obesity Ads: Is It The Wrong Message?

The other day, I came across a controversial anti-obesity campaign that targets Georgian families – where some 40% of children are either overweight or obese. With a million advertising budget, commercials and billboards featuring overweight kids are being run across the state. The campaign features tag lines like “it’s hard to be a little girl when you’re not.”

It begs the question: Is the campaign effective? Or does it send the wrong message?

On one hand, the campaign is getting a lot of media attention and publicity. Almost all of the major news outlets have run stories about the controversial campaign. People are talking – and the obesity epidemic is getting a bigger share of the spotlight.

But on the other hand, I don’t think you can inspire lasting lifestyle changes through shame. If you don’t feel good about your body – or your relationship with your body is badly damaged – it’s much harder to make decisions that honor it like exercise and nutrition. Lasting lifestyle transformations occur through a stronger, more loving relationship with our body – and that’s not something that this campaign helps to inspire.

Some might even argue that by infusing children with even more shame and insecurities, this campaign does more harm than good. Rather than motivate children and parents to change their habits, even more people may turn to food as a way to cope with the guilt and pain.

Ultimately, time will tell if this $25 million campaign is money well spent – and if it does, in fact, make a significant dent in Georgia’s obesity problem.

In the meantime, what do you think? Does this campaign go too far? Or do you think it’s what people need to hear? Let me know in the comments below.