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Click here for the story: Do Georgia’s Child Obesity Ads Go Too Far?
Georgia has taken a stern stand on their attempt to reduce childhood obesity with their honest yet somewhat offensive advertisements offered to “guilt-trip” parents into hopefully providing their children with a stricter diet and to encourage more exercise. I personally wouldn’t say that I disagree with their approach because obesity is becoming such a serious problem in America, but I would recommend that their ads be a little less focused on overweight children solemnly posing for a picture and more of them posing in a more active way, for example, playing a game or sport. A different picture with the same message could prevent possible bullying that might occur to overweight children.
I remember reading about this a few months ago, and while I understand the concerns of the campaign’s creators I do think they’ve “gone too far”. Interestingly, the ads were more than likely targeting parents (i.e. they were an attempt to raise awareness of the issue/dangers of obesity among parents, not necessarily among children), but the result seems to have been to provide fuel for bullying and other forms of ostracization of the children they were trying to protect. Opponents of the campaign pointed out that the “enemy” was obesity, not the obese; a subtle but very important distinction. I think Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution took a far better approach to this issue. Rather than (inadvertently?) shaming obese children and their parents, Jamie Oliver attempted to empower people to live healthier lifestyles by teaching them how to change negative eating habits (i.e. how to cook and eat healthier food).
After reading this article I have to say I do not think Georgia’s child obesity ads are going to far, but would agree that they could use a better approach. Child obesity is on the rise and is becoming more and more of an issue every year. By posting ads such this with a kid that is titled as obese on it only makes kids who have a similar build or frame feel worse about themselves and that something is wrong with them. As stated in the article, “one in three American children are overweight or obese, putting them at higher risk of serious health problems.” After reading this it really hit home for me and made it very clear that this is in fact an issue that needs to be addressed for these kids health is in danger in a number of ways, but at the same time its important that, “we are fighting obesity, not obese people.” I think this line says its perfectly and really points out why so many are offended by these ads and campaigns when it comes to fighting obesity for many of them feel its not the issue of health we are worried about and more about an image.
In no way whatsoever do I believe these ads have “gone too far”. Critics of these ads describe how obese viewers get a message that “There really is something wrong with me”. Guess what… There is. You’re unhealthy… I see it as being similar to the “tips from former smokers” campaign in which individuals are shown with severe handicaps as a result of long-term use of smoking. There doesn’t seem to be much outrage about that. And there is a much higher level of discrimination towards smokers than there is towards those who are obese.
In order to please their audience, the child obesity ads would have to take a different approach. But I don’t think the objective is to please an audience, it is to affect them in a way that calls for them to think about it and change for the better.
I feel that these campaign ads could be extremely effective but I do see the other point of view that sees them as hurtful and alienating twoards obese children. The thing is that these people who want to support “health at every size” are delusional and need to realize that instead of just accepting problems as they are they need to try and improve upon them so that we can have a stronger and healthier society. These ads are strong and possibly offensive, but maybe that is what is needed in on of America’s most obese states. You need something drastic to kick people out of a rut and not just coddle them until they feel like they can accept their unhealthy lifestyle.
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