What Not To Do: Pimping Fat Kids

By christinewatson / / We can all agree that something needs to be done about the obesity problem among America’s youth. Michelle Obama has planted an organic garden on the South Lawn of the White House. And now Georgia’s “Stop Childhood Obesity” campaign has planted a chubby kid named Bobby, wearing a two sizes too small polo shirt, prominently exhibiting the breasts of a young Keira Knightley, in front of a camera. While the intentions of this initiative – including not only these videos on stopchildhoodobesity.com but also several billboards in Georgia – are respectable, many are questioning the ethics of their methods. Are we not exploiting these chubby children by using them as cautionary tales? Ron Frieson, the cabinet chair of the Georgia Children’s Health Alliance and the man in charge of this campaign, defends these ads, claiming that children want straight talk from their peers. As a chubby kid myself growing up (who I might add has grown into a somewhat less chubby adult), I don’t know that seeing a similarly chubby kid on TV would have done the trick to convince me that I should cut out the Hebrew National salami, Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookies, and Fruit by the Foot. In fact, seeing these mirror images of myself would have depressed me even further. And that depression would have lead to more salami, more cookies, and three more feet of flattened and flavored high fructose corn syrup. As a recovering “husky” kid, I would recommend a different approach to reach at risk kids: put up on the screen an attractive girl making out with a guy in good shape; and then list the five foods kids shouldn’t eat if they want to ever be the guy who gets the girl. That’s what you call an inspiring call to action. Or at the very least give Bobby and his friends some shirts that fit. That part’s just mean. -Matt Passet