Are the Strong4Life Childhood Obesity Ads Shaming Obese Children?

I think it was a couple weeks ago I received an email from Bookie Boo over at Mamavation regarding Childhood Obesity Ads of obese children posted in the state of Georgia (see some over at  She was outraged at their marketing strategy and felt that shaming children was not the way to solve the issue.  As you all know my daughter overcame obesity through sports and we are currently fighting it with my son through sports as well.

When I saw the ad it didn’t outrage me as it did many other bloggers.  I felt since the parents allowed them to pose for the ads, it was their way of dealing with their obesity crisis.  So, I read the article and moved right along.  Until today, while going through my feeds on my iPad I ran across an article from Resourceful Mommy, Still Ashamed.  Her post’s featured picture of an obese girl drew me to read the article.  She was explaining how many bloggers took a stand against Strong 4 Life and asked them to remove all ads of obese children.  She went on to say how it led to many disrespectful comments to her blog. Which in turn she deleted because of the lack of respect and name calling.  I totally agree that the comments were unacceptable and we should all be able to agree to disagree.

However, there was one section in her post that took me back.  She mentioned how she would have loved to tell them how her kids never sipped pop, she doesn’t have cookies in her home and her children have perfect height/weight distribution, but instead she deleted the rude comments.  What took me back was the thought of how her statement would make a mom feel that is dealing with obese children?  Since the whole purpose of standing against Strong4Life is to not shame obese kids and their parents who are dealing with the issue.  My kids have never been perfect in height/weight distribution.  They have sipped on pop and we do allow cookies in our home on movie night.  However, my kids obesity came from them not having enough play and exercise which is our reason for keeping them involved in organized sports.

I did leave a comment and not sure if it would get published or deleted.  What I wanted to express is if, we’re going to stand against or build a campaign, no one should be shamed when the ultimate goal is to help someone.  My comment was respectful and if it is somehow deleted, it would have me to assume that maybe I should keep my opinons to myself.

Maybe Georgia isn’t dealing with the obesity in a politically correct way.  Do they get any acknowledgement for effort.  Also, what if coming against Strong4Life causes the parents of the children in the campaign  to become shamed when they thought they were fighting for their children as well as others?  Remember they thought it was OK to allow their children to take part in the campaign in the first place.

Lastly, for those of you that wish to leave a comment on this post feel free to do so.  We can agree to disagree.  I will not delete any comments not even the rude ones because what happens on the internet stays on the internet 😉 (unless they are spam.)




Helping Moms power on faith, Tune-In to family life, Flip through to do list, Turnip in the garden & tell you what’s on the Menu. Nicole is a wife, mother of 3 and a Chorkie. Blogging and vlogging about the things that she enjoys in life, her family, cooking, gardening, decorating, planning, crafts/diy, thrifting, giving roadside finds new life and more.

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  1. Well put. I totally disagreed with that campaign, but also with her criticizing parents who are dealing with that issue. You never know what’s causing a child’s weight issue and can’t possibly judge a situation without knowing the individual facts!

  2. Wow I have not heard of this either. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. I haven’t heard of this! But it’s good you brought it up. I’m not sure how I feel about the ads. But I completely agree in respectfully disagreeing. Though any hateful comments I would probably delete too. Thankfully I haven’t had to deal with that yet.

  4. @Ms. G: @Ms. G: that is so true.

  5. I watched the ads and felt that the shame was more directed at the parents than the kids and meant to induce guilt. I think the use of the word ‘fat’ instead of overweight could be found demeaning, and, because it is such a sensitive issue, perhaps so could using the example that your kids are perfect but you feel so sorry for these unperfect kids that you want to stand up for them. My personal feeling is that the education is out there. Most parents, like you Nicole, look for and are proactive with solutions and for whatever reason, some just don’t. It’s obviously a problem that needs to be addressed but I don’t know know how it can be done without feelings being stepped on somewhere.

  6. This is the first I am hearing about this so thanks for sharing! I can see both sides of the debate. I don’t know why parents can’t agree to disagree without hurling insults at each other. I read your comment over at Mamavation and thought it was very respectful.

  7. @nicole:

    I don’t think I’m familiar with a bed wetting campaign, either, I was just using it as an example. Could be lack of ability in sports, failing in school, looking different…

  8. @Ms. A: I forgot about those bed wetting campaigns. However in that case the child was most likely a model. Great input!!!!!

  9. I’m not familiar with that specific campaign. However, in general, I don’t believe shaming is a good way to accomplish something, whether dealing with obesity, or bed wetting. Shaming is emotional abuse. Personal shame inflicted by conscience, is one thing. Having it inflicted by someone else, is unconscionable.

    Have I ever been guilty of it? Yep.

  10. @Penelope: thanks for your input.

  11. Sometimes being very obese makes a child feel shamed, and sometimes a parent of obese children feel shame out of guilt…I didn’t get a chance to see the ads, but it’s such a serious issue that I think some people are at a loss how to help those kids.

  12. I need to pop my head out of the sand occasionally. I wasn’t even aware of what was going on!

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