January 3 2012
Happy New Year! Time to kick a fat kid.
In Georgia, that’s precisely what they’re doing. The state of Georgia is running a series of ads which they say are part of an effort to help parents recognize the severity of the obesity “epidemic.” A nice touch to the ads is that they actually feature child actors.
First of all, what kind of sick stage mother (or father) would allow their child to star in an ad campaign where they are held up as the example of a fat kid? Something about this just niggles at me…makes me think that’s not a very nice thing for a parent to do. Ya think?
Oh well, I'm sure the parents plan to use the money they got for the ad on those years of eating disorder counselling their daughter will no-doubt need.
But it’s the content of the ad that’s really troubling. In it, a cute-as-a-button little girl (and I mean little, she looks 7 or 8!) looks into the camera and explains that she doesn’t like going to school because the kids pick on her. Then a message pops up on the screen saying “Being fat takes the fun out of being a kid.”
Now, let’s think about this for a second. The ad ostensibly hopes to send a message about the so-called problem of obesity but this ad seems to imply that it’s the girl’s fault that she attends a school filled with rude, thoughtless, and impolite children. Hey...where's all that concern about bullying? Oh...I forgot, bullying a fat kid seems to be acceptable.
Equally troubling is that the obvious solution to this girl’s so-called problems is to…you guessed it…lose weight.
Ya know, I don’t have a degree in child psychology. I haven’t studied the accepted wisdom on eating disorders, but I can take a wild guess that it probably isn’t a good idea to drive home the idea to young girls that their lives will be perfect (and all the kids at school will like them and be nice to them) if they’re just thin.
Oh, to be thin. All the world’s problems will vanish.
What’s interesting is that the organization that developed these disgusting ads--Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta—designed the ads to be shocking and wanted the ads to inspire parents to recognize the obesity issue. But what exactly does this ad do for parents? Nothing. If this children’s organization really cared about kids, the ad would have offered some information to parents on what they can do to help their kids stay healthy. How about mentioning three simple steps that keep kids at a healthy weight: family dinners, going to bed early, and watching less television. Or how about they suggest parents simply take a greater role in their kids eating habits.
Simply showing a little girl upset about being taunted at school is worthless, empty content devoid of anything interesting or helpful to parents trying to help their children lose weight.