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Is Georgia’s Anti-Childhood Obesity Campaign Edgy Or Fat-Shaming?

Is Georgia’s Anti-Childhood Obesity Campaign Edgy Or Fat-Shaming?

 

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.

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Photo from robadob via flickr.

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72 comments

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1:46PM PST on Jan 14, 2012

sadly it seems the majority of people don't know what proper nutrition is. that's one problem. another problem is that people don't seem to care and/or are lazy. i think that picture at the top of this story is disgusting. 2 rolypolys stuffing their mouths with "food-like substances" from McBathrooms...tragic...

1:55AM PST on Jan 13, 2012

Luvinea V. I love you!!! You took the words right out of my mouth.

2:28AM PST on Jan 8, 2012

What parents need to do, is to go and buy some ingredients, get the pans out, and make some food from scratch. People are getting too fat, because their parents are not cooking good food. School lunches are also a problem. Get rid of them, and get parents to pack lunch boxes, with good food in them. Its not rocket science, our parents did it for us, and it was the most amazing head start they have given us.

2:27AM PST on Jan 8, 2012

What parents need to do, is to go and buy some ingredients, get the pans out, and make some food from scratch. People are getting too fat, because their parents are not cooking good food. School lunches are also a problem. Get rid of them, and get parents to pack lunch boxes, with good food in them. Its not rocket science, our parents did it for us, and it was the most amazing head start they have given us.

12:49AM PST on Jan 8, 2012

I think medical intervention, nutrition support, cooking lessons, etc is needed. NOT shaming children, who didn't bring it upon themselves to do this.

4:13PM PST on Jan 7, 2012

I wish my family had recognized our childhood eating habits and changed for the good of the whole family. I feel it set me up to expect sugar as a daily occurrence, something I am trying to stop today.

1:09PM PST on Jan 7, 2012

People who are morbidly obese (and their children) need education and psychological support because psychologically, obesity and other health issues can be very difficult to overcome, even if you do lose the weight.

I do agree with those who say it is more expensive to eat healthy than to just eat the crap boxed/fast food. When I changed my diet, my grocery bill rose by about 50%, and I was living in the Pacific Northwest, which is a haven for healthy eaters. My best friend just moved to the South, and she said it's horrible there. She has a hard time getting fresh veggies and other healthy food, so she eats what's there - unhealthy boxed and processed foods - and has started gaining weight. So, for those of you saying eating healthy isn't more expensive or more difficult, where are you living? If you are living in California, Oregon, or Washington, you don't know how difficult it can be!

1:04PM PST on Jan 7, 2012

I've had weight issues all of my life. Growing up obese is NOT easy! I was horribly teased growing up, but I did finally lose weight, but it turned out to be the first in a series of yo-yo-ing up and down. After being diagnosed with a chronic health condition in my early 30's, I made massive and permanent changes in my diet and lifestyle. I finally got down to a good weight for me and my body, which was larger than I am "supposed" to be, but not too much so. Unfortunately, my health condition reared it's ugly head and I was put on steroids for a long time, making my weight balloon up, even though I was hardly eating due to being sick. Imagine how horrible I felt as I watched the scale climb at each doctor visit, even though at one point I was on a liquid-only diet for about 8 weeks. Luckily, I was able to get off the prednisone and only have about 20lbs to go until I'm where I was when I got sick again. However, as a psychologist, I can tell you shaming in advertisements DOES NOT WORK!!! In fact, it can often cause the exact opposite: the person feels shame at seeing the ad, feels bad about themselves and goes to the one thing they do to feel better - eating.

12:21AM PST on Jan 7, 2012

Thanks for the article.

10:24PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

The parents should educated about health, not the children because it's the the parents who are responsible for a child's health. If it were up to kids they eat what tastes good and just go off that basis. Parents are the one who should know what's healthy for them and for a child not to meet a healthy lifestyle is a lack of good parental influence. I thinks it's child abuse.

They're driving their kids to ill health, and ingraining a pattern of eating habits that will set a standard for them, for the rest of they're lives, and then those kids are going to have kids who are likely to share the same health standards.
Having children is not a right, it's a privilege that should only be granted for those who are prepared for them.

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