strong4life campaign misunderstood

Why do we think that a kid telling people how badly affected he or she was by obesity will reduce other kids’ self-esteem? America has the habit of sugar-coating things for the kids. How about we start getting real and give our kids some credit? Proud2Bme is against the anti-obesity campaign. They argue that the campaign singles out and shames some kids for being fat: ” And you know what’s really not okay? Telling kids who are bullied for being fat that they can and should end their torment by losing weight. Huh? Yes, that’s exactly the message being sent by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with their new “Strong4Life” campaign, featuring a series of videos and print ads with kids talking about being fat”.  According to Lynn Grefe, the President and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association“Every day we hear about the terrible rise in bullying within our schools, yet this ad campaign could actually promote and give permission to such behaviors among kids. Sadly, these ads will be successful in shaming children with weight problems and their parents, but will do nothing to promote and educate about wellness and emotional well-being. Shame on Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta…not shame on the local kids.”

I politely disagree with that argument. It is sad but true that our society defines people by how they look. When kids forget to have fun and play in school and start calling each other names based on their body images, adults should stop and ask themselves why and how we got to this point. I believe that the videos used in this ad are meant to raise awareness among kids, empower our youth so that they can realise that they can choose what they eat and how they eat. They can understand how food is processed in their body and what good or bad it does to them. Educating our kids on food and food science will give them enough knowledge, so that when mom or dad buys sodas everyday they can speak up and say: ” I don’t want that because it is not good for my body.” So instead of looking at the campaign from the negative side, we should look at it from the other side and see where the people behind the campaign are coming from.

Why not give our kids credit and think that when they read another kid’s statement such as ” It’s no fun getting picked on because you’re fat” they will realise that they are not the only ones in the world and they don’t have to be fat? why not teach our kids a little sense of responsiblity and empower them to take care of their body while staying proud of who they are? Our youth is smart and stronger than we think, I know because I am a proud sister of a young ten-year old boy that is not ashamed to talk about his body and how it makes him feel.

I understand that every parent wants to close his or her kids eyes and ears, protect them from the horrors in our world but the truth is they are not home most of the time and they are exposed to things including bullying. the only way we can know what they are dealing with and how we can help is if we tell them that it is ok to talk about it.

Now, could they have been more positive in the campaign? definitively yes! I think that the kids in the videos are so focused on their body images that they forget to talk about how the extra pounds do not change who they are, it doesn’t change the fact that they are great basketball fans and fun kids. Instead of objecting to the campaign and trying to make it stop, we can ask that it is modified and the self-esteem of the kids is emphasized.

Colson’s mother  thinks that ” kids can handle the truth about the food they eat and will excel if given the chance.  Everyone’s body just wants the chance”.

One thought on “strong4life campaign misunderstood

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  1. Wow Raya,I really enjoyed reading this post and I must tell you.I definitely agree with you.People are not aware of the stigma around this campaign.I agree that because of society,it makes it hard for individuals mostly for kids to not feel ashamed of their body.There is not only the pressure from their peers but also from the media.Parents,certainly play a huge role,they must empower their children.

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