By: Sharon Aron Baron
Obesity ads in Georgia are making people a little touchy, especially because they involve in-your-face ads featuring overweight children with messages resembling of “The Truth” anti smoking campaign.
The campaign, called Strong4Life, by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta was created in 2011 and urges Georgia residents to “stop sugarcoating” the childhood obesity crisis. State health officials created the campaign after a survey revealed that 75 percent of parents in Georgia who have an overweight or obese child do not think it’s a problem. Since the state has the second worse childhood obesity rate in the country with nearly 40 percent of all children overweight or obese, officials decided to create the campaign.
Linda Matzigkeit, senior vice president at Children’s Healthcare who leads the wellness projects told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that 85 percent of people who have seen the ads view them positively.
“We have to do something about this or our state is in jeopardy. It’s not good for business if your state has the second highest obesity rate. Obese children turn into obese adults.”
Florida has 33 percent obese or overweight children and ranks 35th in the country in childhood obesity. The State receives grants from two organizations: the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Fund to battle overweight and obesity in children and a Pioneering Healthier Communities grant through the YMCA.
However, is it enough?
Parents in our state could use the education and outreach that Strong4life provides. If action is encouraged by a billboard or ad, then that is part of the battle.
While it may seem shocking to many, this dose of reality is impossible to ignore in Georgia, and may just be the thing parents need to understand the cold reality: That our next generation of children may not live as long as us.
We are the only ones that can do something about childhood obesity.