A series of anti-obesity ads featuring unhappy overweight kids have caused controversy in Georgia (video below).
The ads feature kids saying lines such as “some diseases aren’t just for adults anymore” and “being fat takes the fun out of being a kid.”
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, which co-founded the Strong4Life ad campaign, intended for the ads to be grim, hoping the clips would help parents recognize the severity of the obesity epidemic in Georgia, where it is the second highest in the nation.
“We felt like we needed a very arresting, abrupt campaign that said: ‘Hey Georgia! Wake up. This is a problem. If we do not wake up, this will be disastrous for our state,” said Linda Matzigkeit, a senior vice president at Children’s Healthcare, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
However, some are slamming the campaign for its use of shock tactics, saying the ads don’t actually offer a solution to child obesity, ABC reported.
“There is no mention about what a parent can do other than to say ‘stop sugarcoating the problem,’” said Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter, a pediatrics professor at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
“Blaming the victim rarely helps,” said Dr. Miriam Labbok, a health professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to ABC. “These children know they are fat, and they are ostracized already.”
According to Dr. John Morton of the Stanford University School of Medicine, the ads might be harsh, but they could work: “To change deep-seated social and physiologic behavior like eating will require enormous work, and these ads will help the family start thinking about prevention."