Pardon us while we take a moment to pick our jaws up off of the floor. A recently-launched PSA video campaign in Georgia has us fuming.
The commercials, made by an organization called Strong4Life, show overweight kids describing how other kids pick on them or how their health has been impacted because they are overweight. There are five ads featuring five different children, which end with taglines like “being fat takes the fun out of being a kid,” or “some diseases aren’t just for adults anymore.”
The ads are part of a $50 million campaign in Georgia where nearly one million kids are obese and 75 percent of parents of an obese child don’t recognize it as a problem, Strong4Life says. It’s the second worse obesity rate in the country behind Mississippi. -Ryan Jaslow, CBS News
It’s true that healthy kids are more active and less prone to sickness. It’s true that kids are bullied for being overweight. It’s also true that overweight parents are more likely to have overweight children.
But to shame children because they are overweight as a campaign to fight obesity has us outraged.
To use the antiquated adage that “if you don’t change, you’ll be picked on by bullies” is appalling.
We can think of 1000 other creative ways to promote healthy lifestyles for children and their parents. Where are the tips on how to actually help the children? Why not promote healthy living rather than bullying? Can’t the dollars used to make and promote these videos be put to better use with health education rather than begetting negativity?
Using shame to change behavior is the quickest way to short-term results. This campaign is no different than 17th Century public stockades: putting overweight children on display for mocking.
As with any punishment, shame can have the short-term effect of discouraging certain behaviors. It will, however, have only a weak long-term impact on reducing unwanted behavior and a negative long-term effect in terms of bringing about behavior change. from Transformative Classroom Management. By John Shindler. ©2009
Or maybe this is exactly what Strong4Life is meaning to accomplish? We’re talking about them, you’re reading about them, and all press is good press.
We wholeheartedly disagree.
For more videos and details on the PSA campaign, visit CBS News.
screencap via strong4life