Friday, January 6, 2012


I was reading candyland to bandland's blog about the new obesity intervention public service ads that are running in Georgia.  As we all know the South has one of the bigger problems with obesity then in other areas of the country and I have to say that I understand the intent was well-meaning.  But if they seriously think the same type of campaign they do for not trying Meth is going to work for obesity then the creators of this campaign have no idea how obesity effects those who are obese.

It's not like you can say, don't try food because once you try it you're hooked and your life will be all about stealing money to buy that pizza you're craving.  At first it's whining to mom you want the sugary cereal while walking down the cereal aisle and next it's stealing jewelry to get enough cash to score skittles in an alley from a dealer.

Here's one of the supporters/creators who talks about the research about being effective, what she's not saying is the research is most likely market research determining if people thought the ad campaign was effective in creating a dialogue about obesity, not if it's effective in the solving the problem of childhood obesity. For that you need evidence based research -- this is the problem when you try to move this out of the health arena and into the marketing arena -- this can not be solved by focus groups.

Okay, maybe they're not as scary as those don't try meth commercials (and have you seen those, they freak the he.ll out of my kids YAY). Yes, I do think that parents should get their heads out of the sand about it.  But what research (and not market research but evidence-based research) shows is that health care providers, especially pediatricians are loathe to bring the subject up.  Where is the ad campaign for them?

My kids' pediatrician? oh my gosh he's on board! My oldest is 95th in height and 70th in weight, he's quick, good in sports eats anything and is skinny and enjoys being active (I think he may have been switched at birth) my younger one didn't get so lucky, he's 97th in height and 105% in weight, which puts him at a too high BMI, even with that massive height.  He's really built big, the kid has muscular thighs and shoulders that would have made the shoulder pads Linda Evans wore  in Dynasty look discrete. But he also has a 'bowl full of jelly'.  The pediatrician said he didn't want to do a weight loss plan for him, he just wants him to grow into his weight.  He does snack too much, he does like junk food too much.  He does Karate, but we've upped the ante and he has to spend some time on the elliptical if he wants to play video games and now only one snack after school instead of grazing.  I tell him it's about health, not about weight.  I tell the older one too.  No sugar treats or soda during the week either, weekends in moderation.

I'm trying.

Even if I hear grumblings that I may be abusive when I tell them they have to eat all their vegetables and their reward is just a hug and not chocolate.

I don't want my kids to struggle like I have.

Okay, back to the actual issue....(if you've been reading my blog you know I digress, I also take liberties with grammar...whatever, oh look I digressed again --- so seriously, NOW back to topic)

Kids are in school more of their life then out of school, where is the funding to have health and nutrition classes? Why is physical education one of the items to be cut out of programs?  Why is recess only ten minutes long?  And have you seen the crap that's served in school lunches.  A sugary fruit cup is NOT a fruit choice no matter how you cut it.  This is particularly important because obesity tends to run higher in low income areas and those kids are getting free and reduced lunches, so if we want to help our children, how about lobbying for healthier school lunches, longer recess and PE every day.

Okay, so I feel a bit passionately about this, it's what I'm doing my Master's project in.  That project I should be working on instead of doing this  let's just call this research (wink wink).  In an article I'm reading "Fighting an Epidemic: The role of Schools in Reducing Childhood Obesity" by Sara Pyle, et al says "Interventions targeting obesity in the schools should be designed to promote healthy weight rather than focus on losing weight or obtaining a specific weight" in fact focusing on weight reduction may cause other problems, such as growth decline or feelings of failure and exacerbate other issues such as depression or impaired self esteem.

So yes, let's get educated on obesity and obesity in children. We can do something about it, but let's go about it in an emotionally and physically healthy way.

Stepping off soap box now.


  1. Here, here! You brought up a point I hadn't thought of. The "state" is fine with putting these ads all over but are the first to make cuts to phys ed, recess and count tomato sauce on pizza as a vegetable in school lunches. What hippocrites!

  2. I don't think that the campaign add targeting obesity like using meth is going to be effictive. I really have a lot of thoughts about this blog, but I don't want to offend anyone so I'm going to keep it mostly to myself.

    I teach and work in mental health. So I deal with education and drug addicts everyday. I have noticed that drug addict thought can be a lot like the thoughts that I had about food. Like I would obsess over food until I ate it. If I was thinking about food I wanted it would dictate my mood until I got that food. I know that's not true for everyone who has had trouble with food, but it was true for me, and addicts think the same way. Now, I'm not saying I was going to go out and steal to support my overeating habits, but the similarities were there.

    Childhood obesity is a major problem and I agree that cutting P.E. and Health is always that worst idea ever. School lunch is a joke, they go for cheap vs healthy.

    Anyway,it was a thought provoking post. Thanks!


  3. Sarah I agree that there are food addictions and I am pretty sure I am where I am because of one. I also think it's so much more of a complex issue then addiction when it comes to food. I know I feel anxious and when I eat, especially when I eat certain things I feel more calm. I also have a whole family of addicts of different kinds. And add the whole eating disorder thing in my teens pretty much clinches the addiction thing. I think it's one of the reasons I want to accomplish this project, not only to get my master's but to also help the kids I come in contact with at school. I hope I didn't offend, I was probably a little too upset when I wrote this, it was right after I watched the video that I wrote this and I do feel really strongly about the issue. :D

  4. I wholeheartedly agree! I'm joining the PTA when my boys finally get to school and doing what I can to make a difference - I feel like that's the only place anyone really can make a difference anymore, at the very bottom rung.