Ads Targeting Obese Children In Georgia Stir Controversy Over

11:18 PM, Jan 4, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC --  Blunt ads and strong words are part of a campaign directed at helping children. The goal? To stop people from sugarcoating the topic of childhood obesity.

A non-profit called "Strong4Life" has put up billboards and is running some in-your-face public service announcements as part of their campaign, but are these ads helping or hurting?

The ads show overweight children with slogans like, "Fat Prevention Begins At Home And At The Buffet Line" and "It's Hard To Be A Little Girl If You're Not" or "Big Bones Didn't Make Me This Way, Big Meals Did."

Directors at the Spears Family YMCA in Greensboro say the ads may work for adults, but when it comes to children, it's a fine line.

Family Services Director, Amber Thornton and Wellness Director, Beth McKinney work with obese children. They support the message of the ads, but aren't sure about the delivery.

"That's really harsh for kids to see", says Thornton. McKinney adds, "I think a child definitely absorbs that information and it can go either way."

Both women prefer to use positivity with children. They say children respond best to exercise and health when it's fun. The negativity of the ads might not go over well with children.

Amber Thornton says, "Pointing them out makes them a target, so I don't think it's as effective for kids."

Both women agree the ads are eye-openers, if not for children, for their parents. While our children, especially those dealing with obesity may be too sensitive for the ads, it just might be what the doctor ordered for parents.

We don't want to bring you this story without offering solutions. Click play in the video window to watch an interview with Dr. Joseph Skelton - Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Wake Forest Baptist Health on practical things parents can do to help fight childhood obesity., the organization behind the campaign, also offers tips for things families can do to curb childhood obesity. For those tips, click here.

WFMY News 2, Trust For America's Health(TFAH)

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