The Fight Against Childhood Obesity…What Will They Think of Next?

Anti-obesity campaign strikes a cord with young adults

Click here to watch video 1 Click here to watch video 2


Georgia Ad Campaign

These ads are provocative… they make you think.

It puts the problem out there.  The question is…what does bringing attention to these kids accomplish?  Some experts say that these very blunt ads may lead to bullying among peers and cause low self esteem.

Strong4life is a group based out of Georgia that designed the print and video ads to fight against childhood obesity.

These ads bring attention to a problem without providing a solution.

Children do not become obese on their own!!! They still need to eat and are not able to go out and buy their own food.  We can not expect kids to fully understand the dangers associated with being obese.  A child cannot possibly understand the long term ramifications of his/her food intake and increased risk of life long diseases.

It is ultimately the parents responsibility to become educated and understand the risks associated with childhood obesity so that they can teach their children healthy eating.  The education needs to start with parents!

As parents better understand how to guide their children towards a lifestyle of healthier eating, they can also begin to build the support system that these kids need from their family, friends and community.

We need to help our kids live the healthiest life they can – we cannot blame the school lunch program, the fast food restaurants or the soda manufacturer.  These may be hurdles to get around but life will always have hurdles – we need to educate our kids on how to take the better path.

Balance, Moderation, Education!

How do you see it?  Let us hear from you.








  • By admin, January 10, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

    Melissa Andrews Rearson: It’s hard to say “no” to your kids about food and it’s a hard lesson to learn that you don’t always need to like the food you eat and that it’s okay to be a little hungry. These truths go against most parenting instincts. I don’t think that blaming the kid ever works.

  • By admin, January 11, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

    Kim Poissonnier Lastrina I don’t think it’s right to expose these poor kids. If they are going to do an ad like this at least hide the face. I’m wondering if the parents got money for this? Also parents should be the ones targeted. You have to teach your kids through example. Eat right and exercise and your kids will want to too. I feel badly for poorer parents though. Sometimes they have no choice to buy healthier food because it’s too much. Less expensive to buy a box of macaroni for $1 than chicken or even produce. Shows like biggest loser help. Get the parents off the couch and moving and the kids will hopefully follow. Hate to say it but how often do you see fat kids with skinny parents?

  • By admin, January 14, 2012 @ 12:54 am

    Lonnie Polsyn I’m apalled. I think it will encourage children to develop eating disorders, increase already low self-esteem, and make them targets for bullying.

  • By admin, March 2, 2012 @ 2:03 am

    Terri Armstrong • I watched all the video clips of the kids in this campaign and I do not feel/think that this will lead to bullying or low-self esteem of the kids that see these PSAs… I think it will strike a deep cord with the parents of overweight/obese kids and that’s exactly what they are designed to do. It’s time we stop worrying about ‘saving face’ and start ‘saving lives’ – in order to do that, someone has to speak up and tell the truth — almost 4 out of 10 children are obese in the USA now. 6 out of 10 Adults are obese in the USA. It’s about education, making better food choices and teaching parents/adults and kids to think ‘health first’ over ‘instant gratification’.
    I live in Texas, with 3 out 10 of the top obese cities in the country – and you’re absolutely right – it’s the parent’s fault if their child is obese — however it is usually due to ignorance of nutrition, not due to lack of caring the for the child.
    Education will be the key — and although children don’t control the purse strings to go and buy the right foods — they can absolutely influence their parents by speaking up about wanting to be HEALTHY. (BTW, health comes in many sizes and this issue has nothing to do with prejudice against ‘big kids’ — it has to do with health and giving our next generation a fighting chance at a better life, long life and healthier life.)

  • By admin, March 2, 2012 @ 2:04 am

    Anna Shchemelinin • Anti-obesity ads will not lead to bullying or low self-esteem simply because obese children already have low self-esteem and, often, are already subjects of bullying. For some reason, adults assume that if they will not talk about obesity of a child, children will not know that they are too overweight. In fact, many children start to believe that adults consider them not only fat but also dumb. I don’t think it positively contributes to a child’s self-esteem.
    Children must know that adults around them understand their problem and are willing to do whatever it takes to help to solve it.
    From what I saw, this is what this add is about: make parents to understand that their children’s obesity destroys their lives.

  • By admin, March 2, 2012 @ 2:04 am

    R Delgado • Yes by all means target childhood obesity but remember behind each obese child there is an obesogenic environment that also needs targeting. Making the child the scapegoat is just not right and certainly not enough to target childhood and adult obesity. This campaign might achieve the opposite of what it set out to do. It may reaffirm the behaviour of obese children and obese parents. After all the anti-smoking campaign showing pictures on how smoking could damage your health did not deter people from smoking. However one of the things that it did work was banning smoking in public places, restricting the sale and advertising of tobacco …. The causes of obesity are multifactorial and certainly, at least in the UK, the government and the food industry should accept, for once and all, that they too have an important role to play in stopping this epidemic.

  • By admin, March 2, 2012 @ 2:04 am

    Anna Shchemelinin • One of the main reasons of reducing smoking was, in my opinion, the fact that “good guys” in action movies stopped smoking and “this smoking will kill you one day” became a popular way to get rid of “bad guys”.
    But, unlike with smoking, being obese never was and will never be considering as cool. The methods which worked with smoking cannot work with obesity. (After all, you cannot ban obese people from going to public places).
    But, making people pay for their obesity may work: the government may and should require public employes, especially the ones who work in education and health systems, to follow healthy living standards and keep their weight on healthy levels. Airline companies should be allowed to measure passengers weight with their luggage so the 350-lb passenger with a 10-lb luggage will pay more than 175-lb passenger with a 50-lb luggage.
    As long as it’s considering to be OK that fit people pay for unfit, very little can be done to help. This add serves one purpose – show parents that their own children also pay, maybe not with money, but with their suffering. Hopefully, it will open somebody’s eyes.

  • By admin, March 2, 2012 @ 2:05 am

    R Delgado • I think there has been some misunderstanding. I didn’t mean that we should ban obese people from going into public places or that we should apply the same anti-smoking policies to the food industry. I was trying to draw some similarities between the attitude of the smoking companies and the food industry. It took a long time for the tobacco industry to accept any responsibility on the harmful effects of smoking. Government policies and public pressure drove them to change. The harmful trans-fats, the highly energy dense food widely available in children’s school meals, supermarkets, vending machines, ….. are only examples on how the food industry has an important role to play TOO. Why don’t we ALSO make them pay for using unhealthy and highly energy dense ingredients in the food production?

  • By admin, March 2, 2012 @ 2:05 am

    Anna Shchemelinin • R Delgado, I’m sorry if I made you upset with my previous comment. Of course, I know that you didn’t mean to ban obese people from being in public.
    But, talking about smoking we always need to keep in mind that a campaign for changing attitudes toward tobacco didn’t solve the problem of unhealthy behavior. Instead of smoking tobacco people, especially teens, turn to marihuana and/or other recreational drugs.
    With anti-obesity campaign we want to solve the problem, not to replace it with something else, such as unaffordable cost of food or destroying american food industry altogether.
    Public pressure can cause positive changes; additional government regulations can only increase food prices.
    Obesity in children is not caused only by the wrong food they eat, but also, and mostly, by the wrong type of activities they do. They need physical exercises for their physical development and for dealing with a stress they expose to. Watching TV, or playing computer games contributes to stress, which in absence of exercise, causes cravings to high glycemic sweets, which creates vicious cycle where unhealthy eating leads to more unhealthy eating.
    In order to put public pressure in the right direction, people should fully understand that obesity is a serious medical condition and treating it cost a lot of money; that it’s much easier to prevent obesity than to treat it; that it’s a person’s or, in a case of a child, parents responsibility to keep a weight at healthy levels.

  • By admin, March 2, 2012 @ 2:06 am

    Trina Robertson • It’s tough to find the best way to reverse child obesity and overweight and I appreciate everyone’s comments.

    @Terri I completely agree that we need to focus on nutrition education for students and parents and making the better food choice the easiest choice.
    By choosing healthier foods we can move the food industry to continue to provide healthier options as @R Delgado pointed out.
    The last comment by @Anna sums it up well for me, it is a balance of making healthier food choices and encouraging less total screen time and 60 minutes of physical activity for children and at least 30 minutes for adults.

    Obesity prevention is easier then treatment so let’s continue to help families find what motivates them to make the good choices that they find enjoyable.

  • By admin, March 2, 2012 @ 2:06 am

    Dara Aronow • We really appreciate all of your comments. This back and forth discussion illustrates how incredibly complicated this issue truly is. So many valid points have been made, and we completely agree that there needs to be balance between healthy eating and increased physical activity as well as limited screen time.

    Our issue with these ads is that they are bringing awareness to a problem without really offering a solution. Families such as the one’s they show in these ads need education-of course to the kids, but especially to the parents. For the most part, it is parents that buy food for their kids. If these parents are also obese, how are they going to know how to do the right thing for their children to help them eat healthier? They need to understand the dangers associated with obesity as well as the solutions.

    We do need the food industry to get on board. Schools can’t really offer healthier food if food distributors don’t have it available. Trina, your comment is so true that if people keep making healthier food choices, it will push the food industry in that direction. It’s unfortunate that this is what needs to happen first in order to see change.
    Thanks again for all of your comments!!!!

  • By admin, March 2, 2012 @ 2:07 am

    R Delgado • I couldn’t agree more, this discussion is a reflection on how complicated and controversial is to tackle the obesity epidemic. The causes are multifactorial and they are all interconnected. May I recommend the ”Foresight Tackling Obesity, Future choices” a project report published by the UK Government Office for Science . I think a way of understanding the present situation and the future implications of this epidemic.

  • By admin, March 2, 2012 @ 2:07 am

    Lynn Burns • An interesting debate and those of you not on the the attached group discussing whether or not we should refrain from using terms such as obese and fat to patients, there are some interesting points made there that some may be interested in reading. Not just about whether we should shy away from using those terms to protect the feelings of the patient but also about the wider issues around making change possible. There is definite crossover. Certainly later on in the discussion (which is more adult focussed).

  • By admin, March 2, 2012 @ 2:08 am

    Anna Shchemelinin • When you have to tell somebody, that they have a serious medical condition, you will hurt their feeling, no matter what words you are going to choose. In a case of childhood obesity, you have to explain children’s parents, that the life choices they make for their children cause this serious medical condition and a severe damage for the quality of their children’s lives. If somebody has a suggestion about how to explain this for people without hurting their feelings, please share this with us. I personally believe this is impossible.

  • By admin, March 2, 2012 @ 2:08 am

    Dara Aronow • Anna, I think that’s an interesting way to put it….I don’t think that an adult who suffers from obesity thinks of themselves as having a serious medical condition. (until they actually have the serious medical conditions that actually come along with being obese) That’s probably where the education needs to start! There’s a difference between talking to an adult about their weight as opposed to a child. An adult can understand the risks involved with being obese and can comprehend the long term side affects. A child on the other hand, can’t comprehend the long term consequences and the damage that being overweight- obese will cause to their bodies. We also have to worry about a child’s self-esteem and body image. I’m not sure that worrying about people’s feelings should be factored in at all when we are talking to adults. These are the people who have the power to teach their children to be or not to be healthy eaters.

  • By admin, March 2, 2012 @ 2:08 am

    R Delgado • Dara your last sentence is very true, the parents/the adults are the people who have the power to teach their children. If you alienate the parent/the carer you alienate the child. If you want to engage with the parents you have to work with them and no against them to find and promote a healthier lifestyle. An adult who is in pre-contemplation stage will not accept that he is obese nor will he think of himself as someone who is at risk of having medical problems. At this stage, they will still be in denial when weight related medical problems occur. You have to work with them to move them from the pre-contemplation to a contemplation stage and then to an action stage. These stages are explained in the trans theoretical model of change and they are worth remembering when you work with clients who have weight related issues.

  • By Annemarie McDermott, March 27, 2012 @ 4:00 am

    I am a Health & Wellness Educator, teaching parents and children the importance of proper food choices. Children can be such HUGE ambassadors if they are taught what food can do for their bodies. I have seen it happen in the schools I teach in.
    We have an epidemic in this country with not only childhood obesity but diseases including ADHD, Diabetes, Heart Disease and Cancer. Our children are expected to have a shorter life expectancy than us. Does that scare anyone else? It does me!
    I would welcome the opportunity to connect with anyone interested in learning what I have done. Including growing my own aeroponic garden year round which is now available throught my company. My kids love it and eat right off the vines!

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