Children’s obesity rates have been increasing in the last 20 years. It is a huge concern for the medical community, and in the last five years it has been a topic of discussion in all of the conferences that I have attended.
Medical professionals and medical institutions are looking at creative ways to educate the general population about the seriousness of childhood obesity so it can be treated.
Obesity is a risk factor for many other chronic diseases. Therefore, educating children and families about healthy lifestyles is a preventative way of increasing the longevity and quality of life for our children and future generations.
In the last week there has been attention and controversy about an ad campaign targeting obese children in Georgia. The ad campaign is called “Stop Sugarcoating It, Georgia.”
The ad campaign features children who are obese talking openly about the problems and feelings they are consequently faced with. They ask questions, such as "Why am I fat?" and talk about being bullied because of their size.
A few of the ads end with the statement that 75 percent of the parents of overweight kids ignore the problem. It is getting so much attention because they were designed to be shocking and harsh in order to get such reaction.
The ads are being run by a pediatric hospital, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The vice president of the hospital, Linda Matigkeit said, "It has to be harsh. If it's not, nobody's going to listen."
The hospital believes that parents are in denial about this problem in Georgia. There are one million children that are obese in Georgia, which has the second largest rate of childhood obesity in the nation.
The ads are the first in a five-year anti-obesity effort. The purpose of the effort is to bring health awareness programs to the schools. The hospital will train pediatricians to educate parents and teens about obesity-related issues.
Finally, they will also establish health clinics to address obesity-related issues. The concerns of the hospital are real. The negative representation of the ads involving the people's objections helps to explain the motives of the hospital.