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New Anti-Obesity Campaign is Harsh Eye-Opener for Georgians

January 6, 2012

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A new anti-obesity campaign in Georgia, run by Strong4Life, has been causing quite a stir. The series features several black and white images of obese children revealing how obesity negatively affects their lives. One child tells the camera that she doesn’t want to go to school because the other children make fun of her. Another says that she was scared because the doctor just diagnosed her with hypertension. And perhaps the most powerful of the bunch is a young obese child asking his similarly obese mother why he is fat. 

The campaign, which includes print ads, billboards, and television commercials, features the tagline “Stop sugarcoating it, Georgia” and is meant to force people to acknowledge that Georgia has the second highest rate of childhood obesity, just barely behind Mississippi, and something needs to be done about it.

“We feel like we needed a very arresting, abrupt campaign that said” ‘Hey, Georgia! Wake up. This is a problem,’” Lina Matzigkeit, senior vice president at Children’s Healthcare told The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

It may come as no surprise that not everyone agrees with the message these ads are sending. Many feel that the campaign should be less directed at obese children and should instead target parents who need to feed their children nutritious meals. Others think that the campaign could be effective but lacks information on how to effectively combat obesity. 

The Pediatric Health System, however, is standing strong by its approach, believing that the harsh stance is necessary to raise awareness of this statewide (and nationwide!) health problem.

We were interested in what our community had to say about the Strong4Life campaign, so we took it to Facebook, asking our followers if they thought the campaign approach was too tough. We were overwhelmed with responses. Here is what a few of you think about the issue:

Frank: When people lack the education and have their kids sitting in front of the TV staring at ads for Fruit Loops and Coke, what is expected? Take away gym class in schools and serve them pizza as a vegetable. If we are uneducated and looking for the gov't to provide us with healthy food options, then some don't stand a chance

Amy Jean: Change the minds of the adults, then we'll start seeing a change in the children. I'm pretty split on this ad... I was a chubby kid all my childhood and into adult hood and was aware of it. It would have helped me to know a solution to it that worked for me. So I guess if the ad had the problem and the solution in one commercial it would have been effective for me. Done analyzing it now...

Brandon: I like it, guess we'll have to wait and see. And I don’t think critics of childhood obesity can honestly say these campaigns won't work, because nothing has worked already.

What do you think about this campaign? Do you think a different approach would be more effective?