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Friday, September 23, 2011

Are Georgia’s Child Obesity Ads Working?

What are your thoughts about the in-your-face billboards targeting childhood obesity across Georgia? My first reaction was one of shock, that a campaign would highlight overweight children.

Initially my heart went out for the children who are portrayed on outdoor advertising billboards across the state. I thought to myself and out-loud to my husband, "Are these kids getting counseling for this?" Better yet I said, "Is someone helping them lose weight?" I'm an "extroverted feeler," and worry about their feelings being hurt by their participation in a statewide campaign targeting childhood obesity.

It took me about two weeks to really think about if I was in favor or opposed the campaign. However after reading more about the campaign online, and doing a bit of additional research I realized the importance of this cause. I had no idea that Georgia's children were some of the largest and unhealthiest in the country.

Obesity rates among all children in the United States

The Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey highlights:

  • Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.
  • Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled.
  • There are significant racial and ethnic disparities in obesity prevalence among U.S. children and adolescents. In 2007—2008, Hispanic boys, aged 2 to 19 years,were significantly more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white boys, and non-Hispanic black girls were significantly more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white girls.

Looking in the Mirror

One of the most honest people I know is my Mother-in-Law. After giving birth to our first son and nearly tipping the scale at 211lbs she was the only person who told me that I needed to trim down. My Mom was less forward and sent me books about, "What Not to Wear."

However, my Mother-in-Law bought me bigger clothes, exercise DVDs, and introduced me to undergarments that suck everything in. Both my Mother-in-Law and Mom wanted me to feel better about myself, but most importantly wanted me to be healthy for myself and our children. I was offended by both of their reactions to my weight gain at first, but after taking control of my weight I appreciated their honesty, unconditional love, and support. Obesity can cause high blood pressure, diabetes, and a number of other health related problems.

I believe Georgia obesity campaign is a little brutal but sometimes eye-catching ads are needed to start a conversation. The "Stop Child Obesity" web site states, "We can't continue to ignore the fact that Georgia has the second highest rate of childhood obesity in the country. Kids are now suffering from diseases once seen only in adults."

Let's turn Childhood Obesity Awareness Month into Stop Childhood Obesity Year. It's time to be honest with ourselves and our children. For more information, please visit: Link:

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