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Georgia's anti-obesity campaign brings childhood obesity to light

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

Are the ads right on or too harsh?

The state of Georgia has gone to a new level with a bold collection of anti-obesity ads that specifically target the childhood obesity epidemic. The ads are being met with mixed reactions from parents around the country, however. Get the info and decide for yourself if the ads go too far or if they are just right.

Overweight boy

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta launched the ads due to Georgia's extremely high child obesity rates. The goal is to present the public with a frank look at how obesity affects children, physically as well as emotionally.

Georgia's skyrocketing obesity rates

Georgia has the unhappy distinction of having the second-highest childhood obesity rate in the country (second to Mississippi). According to the campaign's website, Strong 4 Life, nearly 1 million Georgia children are overweight or obese, and they estimate that 75 percent of parents with overweight or obese children don't recognize the problem.

Childhood obesity has brought diseases such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes into the lives of children -- diseases previously thought to be adult-only problems. Other health risks of obesity are sleep apnea, heart disease, liver disease and kidney disease. The site states, "Georgia's obesity costs are estimated to be $2.4 billion per year due to the rise in this epidemic."

The Strong 4 Life campaign

The campaign has been designed to provide Georgia parents with some insight into the problems an overweight child can face, such as serious, lifelong medical issue and being bullied at school.

Parents are conflicted, however, on the angle of the campaign, which invites the public to discuss the issues on their Facebook page. Some feel the ads are way too harsh and put the blame onto overweight children, such as Facebook user Hannah, who stated, "I was shamed for my weight all my life. Guess what? IT DIDN'T MAKE ME LOSE WEIGHT! Your new PSAs stink."

Another Facebook user agrees. "What you are doing is wrong," stated March. "It's not ok to blame kids for being bullied. We need to [...] change our attitudes towards health and size. These children are people too and deserve to live their life free from shaming and ridicule."

Ads are right on

Other parents say that the ads are a refreshing change and should help moms and dads recognize that their children need help. Brooke, mom of one, stated, "These ad are something some parents need to see unfortunately. I do think parents are solely responsible for the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of today's kids."

Cathy, mother of one, shared, "I think they should push more exercise and better eating habits all over the country, whether you are obese or not." Jessica from Minnesota agreed. "Kids used to walk to school, now they don't," she said. "Kids used to run around the neighborhood playing all day outside. Now they don't.

Grocery store prices are to blame as well. "I think a lot of it has to do with the cost of groceries, to be honest," explained Brigetta, mother of three. "You could just go to McDonald's for cheaper than buying good produce and organic products."

The stark nature of the short ads, which range from 30 seconds to over a minute, is meant to bring the issue to light in plain language in the words of the children who are affected. It can be hoped that overweight and obese children in Georgia, as well as the rest of the country, can be recognized and helped by their parents after seeing these ads.

Tell us

What do you think of Georgia's anti-obesity ad campaign? An honest look at the problem or far too harsh?

More on childhood obesity

How to break the cycle of childhood obesity
Preventing childhood obesity
Is your child obese?

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