Some anti-obesity ads produced by a Georgia agency are causing some controversy. (WRDW-TV / Jan. 9, 2012)
News 12 This Morning / Monday, Jan. 9, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A hard-hitting campaign targeting Georgia children is receiving a lot of criticism for featuring overweight young adults and blunt messages about obesity.
They are in-your-face messages using overweight adults. As a chubby young teenager walks by, you can see the pain in their face from being too big.
Responses like "Wow," and "That was a little a scary," are the first reactions some adults had after viewing the ad.
Strong4Life, a Georgia-based group, is responsible for the series of ads that don't sugar coat much, such as stating that 75 percent of parents ignore the problem.
Van Fleming, a mother of a fifth grader said, "Kind of sad to watch, but that's what's going to get people's attention."
Fleming is concerned about obesity in young children. Her young son Coleman watched the ads and understood the message crystal-clear.
"Sometimes people know what they are doing," Coleman said. "But don't want to say they are overweight."
The message hits closer to home for young girls like Julia Teague.
"I'm overweight, too, that was my new year's resolution," Teague added. "To lose weight and eat healthier."
They are images and stories she can relate to.
"I think that was a good choice to put the truth on," Teague said.
Some critics say calling a child too big or too fat to their face is just too harsh.
Johanna Wisenhunt, a clinical nutrition manager at Doctor's Hospital said, "I think it is pretty dramatic. It's got a serious tone to it."
"It's not dramatic," Teague said. "It's the truth. Life can be dramatic sometimes."
For Teague, the honesty is what she thinks will help explain what overweight children are facing.
"I think it will strike a cord with parents, possibly more than kids, which is where it needs to start," Fleming said.
Strong4Life claims on their website that Georgia has the second-highest rate of childhood obesity in the country. The group says it hopes to show parents how to take control and shape a healthier lifestyle for young adults with less shocking methods via their website. You can visit their website here to take a look at some of their tools.