ABC World News. Childhood Obesity. Georgia Fights Back. But Have They Gone Too Far?

1-2-2012  ABC World News with Diane Sawyer reports on an anti-obesity campaign launched by the state of Georgia aimed at bringing attention to the childhood obesity crisis in that state.  But is seems that the blunt, in-your-face messages  directed at kids in TV ads and billboards are raising eyebrows and even outrage.  ABC’s Steve Osunsami examined the issue and reported that health experts behind the startling ads say that is exactly what the state of Georgia needs.  “More straight talk and less sugar coating” the crisis.

Osunsami reports that nearly 40% of Georgia’s children today are obese or overweight.  Some even diagnosed with hypertension in the first and second grades.   Georgia feels that the parents of these overweight kids are not recognizing that this is a serious problem and hopes these TV ads and billboards rouse parents to action. 

But the approach has divided and even angered some health officials, with critics saying that you cannot shame families into losing weight.

One woman commented to ABC that this campaign is an example of what not to do.  “We need to fight obesity, not obese individuals.”

Another said “I think that it’s not only ineffective, but it’s actually quite damaging.  If kids feel bad about their bodies than they are not going to take good care of them.”

Steve Osunsami reports that Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta who hired the actors, is spending $25 million to spread this message and they refuse to apologize.  “This is a systematical crisis and we cannot stand by and let this happen to our state and our country.”

Steve says that these “in-your-face” type campaigns have worked before like those blunt teen meth drug addiction ads in Montana.  Those ads dropped teen meth use down 50% in that state.

One Georgia teen told ABC he knows he is overweight.  He said he started getting teased a lot.  So he says he’s trying eat better, change his life, and avoid becoming another statistic in the commercial.

Here are a few more of those Ads. You decide!

Georgia - Anti-Obesity Campaign

 

Related Sites:

Strong4Life.com – A Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Movement

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