On Blast: GA’s Controversial Ad
This on CNN’s Health website today. My first reaction to the headline of “Georgia’s child obesity ads aim to create movement out of controversy” was delight that Georgia is trying to do something about this obvious (to most of us) issue. Immediately following, I saw the picture associated and my second reaction was complete saddness. I’ll explain why– Rebecca Puhl’s quote is right on when she says shaming children is not the answer.
“There seems to be this perception that it’s OK to shame children and families struggling with obesity because that will provide an incentive to lose weight,” said Rebecca Puhl, director of research and weight stigma initiatives at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University.
“However, research in weight bias shows that when individuals feel shamed or stigmatized because of weight they’re actually more likely to engage in behaviors that reinforce obesity: unhealthy eating, avoidance of physical activity, increased caloric intake.”
I see this campaign as a demotivator. If the focus is to elicit a response from an ambivalent, I doubt very much that it will be positive behavior change. Have we learned nothing from Michelle Obama’s campaign? Let’s get the NBA more involved, actors, community leaders, and anyone else that is seen as a role model. But please, let’s not make these kids feel worse than they might already.