Has a recent Georgia public health campaign gone too far? “Stop Sugarcoating” is a campaign aimed at fighting childhood obesity and one of its tools is a series of harsh images of obese children and text that says things like “It’s hard to be a little girl if you’re not” and “[f]at prevention begins at home. And the buffet line.”
Critics of the campaign worry the message will get lost while simply contributing to more stigma for overweight children while proponents argue that parents need to recognize what obesity looks like. This is especially true in Georgia, a state with the second highest rate of childhood obesity in the nation.
But what exactly does the campaign do?
Beyond providing edgy “awareness raising” the campaign does little else. It doesn’t seem to provide families any tools to combat the problem, especially when parents of obese and overweight children already underestimate their child’s weight.
And there’s a real danger of further stigmatizing these children through a campaign like this. Researchers already know that overweight children are less liked by their peers. A campaign that further stigmatizes obese children won’t do anything other than further drive a culture of shame and avoidance around the issue.
Photo from robadob via flickr.