I was asked the other day what I thought of the new Georgia kids' anti-obesity campaign. My answer was, "What campaign?" So, of course I went and looked it up, and "Shocked!" would be my first reaction. In my opinion, it is on the verge of bullying.
In order for you to form your own opinion about this campaign, I would suggest you check out the website yourself before you continue reading this blog posting: Stop Childhood Obesity What is the focus of this campaign? On their Facebook page, they claim they are "radically dedicated to saving the next generation of Georgia’s 2.7MM children by fighting obesity – one child at a time. We will change the reality that Georgia has the 2nd highest rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. through information, education and empowerment." I will agree that they do have the radical part right.
So, why am I so shocked?
It seems that all this campaign is doing is enlisting some overweight kids and plastering their faces on billboards and videos with the message that overweight (or they like to use the word FAT) kids have health problems... that overweight kids become overweight adults.... that if a child has two overweight parents, he is 60-80% more likely to be an overweight adult. Do you keep seeing the word 'adult' here? Well, I am shocked because, why isn't this campaign plastering the adults on the billboards and having them say things like, "Because I let my kid come home each afternoon and eat a bag of chips while he watches tv, he is now overweight." or "My child suffers from diabetes because of me!" Where is the accountability of the parents here? One of the statistics they give is that "24% of Georgia's third graders are obese.".... so I ask this, "Are the third graders the ones doing the grocery shopping?"...that would be the ADULTS, yet again!!!
Why else am I shocked?
If this campaign was really geared to be beneficial, they would be educating kids. In the statement on their Facebook page, it states they want to "educate". Did you notice on their website they have absolutely no educational materials? They tell you what the problem is, but they don't tell you how to fix it. They just call the kids FAT and move on. Maybe they need me, the educator, to come up with some creative and fun educational materials to help kids understand calories and fitness. How about a survey for kids to take so they can see if they are making wise decisions when it comes to food selection. How about a calorie calculator and journal pages where kids can see how many calories they need in a day and then monitor those calories in their journal? I could go on and on.
This campaign is gaining national attention, and rightfully so. Most people seem to think just like I do. How about you.... is this the way to handle childhood obesity? Will this campaign work? I will be the first to say that the statistics prove that obesity is on the rise. Something needs to be done. I just don't think this is the approach to take. Compassion for these kids, education for the kids and parents... let's try that first and see how it works.
As featured on The Today Show
On an ending note, I know there are some kids that have health problems that contribute to their obesity. In that case, this message really doesn't deal with that topic. I know that some kids may sneak three brownies when Mom told them to eat one. Maybe that's not the Mom's fault. I know that to some level kids need to be held accountable, but until they are fully educated about the harms of sugar and sweets, all they know is that it tastes good. So, with that said, I think the campaign should be "Stop Childhood Obesity...educate, don't berate!"
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