This is FAT HATRED , and I fail to see why we want to isolate the individual .
The Boston Globe
Obesity ads aim to jolt parents
Goal: Improve children's health
By John C. Drake, Globe Staff | January 28, 2007
The images are not subtle.
One billboard shows an overweight child's lower legs and feet on a scale next to the words, "Fat Chance," along with a list of the health risks of obesity. A second billboard shows the back of an overweight child and asks, "If that's your kid, what are you waiting for?"
The billboards are part of a $250,000 public awareness campaign that is meant to awaken area parents to the dangers of childhood obesity, said Martin D. Cohen , president of the MetroWest Community Health Care Foundation.
"We need to get their attention," said Cohen, whose foundation will launch the campaign tomorrow.
Susan Green, a 48-year-old Wayland mother of two who served on a task force that helped develop the campaign, said she understands the images may be jarring and even insulting to some parents.
"People are concerned that parents may become upset by it," said Green. "There is the risk of turning some people off, but I'm hoping it won't, and will be the first step toward developing awareness if their child is obese."
The campaign also will include television spots and print advertisements. In addition to the campaign, the foundation has handed out more than $1 million in grants to schools, community centers, and social service groups for fitness, nutrition, and health education programs aimed at reducing obesity.
The campaign is directed at parents, not children, for a reason, Cohen said.
"In targeting children, we [would be] competing with every other advertiser -- all the cereals, the McDonald's, the Pepsi, Coke, and so forth," Cohen said. "But the issues surrounding food are largely controlled by parents. They buy the groceries. They cook the food. They are deciding what's in the refrigerator."
A 2002 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that 9 million American children are overweight, three times the number from two decades earlier. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta found that obesity among children ages 2 to 5 has increased 35 percent in 10 years.
Dr. Jerry Wortzman , chairman of pediatrics at the MetroWest Medical Center, said local pediatricians see overweight children with health problems every day.
He said that children whose families have been motivated to change their lifestyles are most successful at returning to a healthy weight. A public awareness campaign that focuses on the serious health effects of childhood obesity could help motivate some families, he said.
"They're not going to change unless they really believe there's a problem going on," Wortzman said.
"Children being overweight is more often not really a marker for behavior issues on the part of the child," he added.
"It's much more likely a marker for behavioral choices that the family is making."
The ads will direct parents to a website, metrowestkids.org , active tomorrow, where they can get information about exercise and nutrition and pose questions to a panel of specialists.
To gauge the campaign's effectiveness, Cohen said, officials will look at website traffic and referrals to doctors, among other measures.
Green said she has tried to set the tone in her own home. She limits television viewing in her house to keep her children active, and gives them sweets only after they've had a full meal.
The rules aren't always followed, she acknowledged, but she hopes that teaching her children healthy habits now, at ages 5 and 6, will help them stay fit for life.
"We are the role models for our kids, and we have to understand how important our influence is," Green said.
Being overweight poses serious health risks for children, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and orthopedic problems, Wortzman said. He also said research suggests that the health risks associated with obesity may lead to a decrease in life expectancy.
The MetroWest Community Health Care Foundation provides about $5 million annually in grants to 27 area communities for a variety of public health programs.
Green said the health risk that gives her the greatest concern is an increase in depression among overweight children.
"It would be hard to see your kids depressed because they look a different way," she said. "That would be something I would hope people would respond to."
John C. Drake can be reached at 508- 820-4229 or jdrake@ globe.com.
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.
Message Board Do you think the campaign will be effective?
Ads by Google
Khao Lak - Cheap Rates
Visiting Thailand & Need a Hotel? Compare Top Sites for Khao Lak!
Dragon Age Video Games
Save on Electronic Arts Dragon Age PC, PlayStation and Xbox Games!
Lasers, Missiles, Cannons
Fantasy Sci-Fi Web RPG Ga