As health care costs increase along with portion sizes, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has decided to tackle the problem full-on in a series of ads that expose the problem of childhood obesity.
Using tools such as television commercials and billboards late this year, the campaign has offered stark black-and-white images of overweight children sharing bold and often uncomfortable messages. In one, a child named Bobby sadly asks his obese mother, “Mom, why am I fat?” His mother simply sighs heavily and the commercial fades out.
Some public health experts, however, say the approach could be counterproductive when it comes to childhood obesity. The commercials and billboards do not give families the tools they need to attack the problem, some critics say. Others say the images will simply further stigmatize obesity and make it even less likely for parents and children to acknowledge that their weight is unhealthy and should be addressed.
I gotta admit I like what they’re doing here. Of course, in the South, unhealthy eating habits still loom large, and can be viewed as tradition, not a problem. Are these ads effective for you? Do you think it will provoke a needed discussion of all the factors that affect childhood obesity? Do you think some parents (and their kids) need to be told the harsh truths about the issue, even if it provokes a sense of shame? Does guilt in advertising still work on people?