It's no question that childhood obesity is a problem in the U.S. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nearly 20% of all kids in the U.S. qualify as obese, the greatest numbers being in Mississippi and Georgia. Now officials in Georgia are taking aim at the issue, though drawing fire, for an ad campaign designed to open eyes.
In one ad an obese child asks his equally obese mom, "Mom, why am I fat?"
The campaign, designed by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is supposed to be shocking - to take aim at parents who ignore the issue. According to surveys conducted by the agency, 75% of parents in Georgia with obese children did not recognize it as a problem.
The result is an ad which features an overweight girl looking into the camera and saying: "I don't like going to school because all the other kids pick on me; it hurts my feelings." with the tag line, "Being fat takes the fun out of being a kid."
Officials at Children's Healthcare told reporters this week: "We felt like we needed a very arresting, abrupt campaign that said: 'hey, Georgia! Wake up. This is a problem.'"
If arresting is what they wanted, they certainly got it. Facebook messages left on the center's website are clear: "Just wanted you to know that you're doing a horrible thing," one wrote. "Fat kids shouldn't stop being fat because they get bullied. It's the bullies that should be stopped."
At the very least the ads are stirring controversy and making people talk. Whether they will be effective that remains to be seen?