Pekin, Ill (PressExposure) February 22, 2012 -- The iaedp Foundation is speaking out against Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's (CHOA) controversial childhood obesity campaign. With a series of five television commercials featuring overweight children with health issues correlated with obesity, CHOA's campaign stigmatizes children struggling with their weight by shaming them. The images of the children in these ads prey upon an imagined ignorance, play on racial stereotypes, and diminish hope for a solution.
"What we risk as a society is a never-ending discussion over the probabilities of the various factors that lead toward obesity. Rather than implementing goodwill programs and initiatives to address the immediate needs of our children, CHOA publicly shames those children who look to them for help and those parents who are aware of the problem but are ill-equipped to provide a solution," said Bonnie Harken, Managing Director at The iaedp Foundation.
The iaedp Foundation supports the efforts of lifestyle-based public health campaigns that seek to address metabolic disorders by encouraging people to consume wholesome foods by improving access, affordability and education for better nutritional options and encouraging people to move their bodies, within each individual's unique limitations, in healthy and sustainable ways. CHOA's anti-obesity campaign does neither and uses shame which can result in lower self-esteem and negative body image, more eating disorders, more overweight patients avoiding routine healthcare checkups and an increase in the very metabolic disorders they claim to be fighting.
The iaedp Foundation will not support CHOA's alleged "wake-up call" to force parents of obese children to action in order to fight fat. With childhood obesity on the rise, the persistent stigma attached to it and pervasive bullying, campaigns like these threaten to disrupt appropriate childhood development by offering a "survival of the fittest" notion. This notion is based on nature, rather than the nurture needed by those at-risk children who feel increasingly trapped in an unhealthy living cycle that has become a cultural norm.