The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Shaming or helping obese children?

While in some parts of the world children do not have enough to eat, other places face an epidemic of childhood obesity.  In the state of Georgia, nearly 40% of children are considered to be obese or overweight--that's nearly 1 million kids!

In an effort to increase awareness and attempt to stem the tide of childhood obesity, the non-profit Strong4Life has partnered with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in a blunt and direct new advertising campaign that directly addresses the issue.

The ad campaign has come under fire, however, for being too blunt.  Amongst other complaints, opponents are concerned that the ads "shame" the very people they are trying to help and do not offer any helpful or concrete information.

I have mixed feelings about the campaign.  Childhood obesity is a serious health problem and can lead to a lifetime of other health issues.  Additionally, many parents don't recognize--or choose to ignore--that their child is dangerously overweight.  But on the other hand, children are picked on or bullied for so many things already--including weight--and this ad campaign may just serve to stoke those fires.  I also have to consider the fact that the children featured in the ad campaign are all paid actors.  That does not make them any less overweight or prone to being tormented, but it does imply that they willingly joined this campaign with their eyes open.

What do you think?  Are billboards like the one above shameful and hurtful to the kids in them or others who are overweight, or is it a necessary wake-up call to the residents of Georgia, a state that is behind only Mississippi when it comes to childhood obesity?

-Katie Weidmann
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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