Wellness Wire: Kids Digitally Altered to Look Overweight in New Ad Campaign

Childhood Obesity Ad Digitally Altered

We have been outraged at the media for altering models to be even thinner than they actually are and giving the world a skewed view of what beauty really is. But this is the first time we have ever seen an advertisement where the model was digitally altered to be overweight. A kid model at that.

An ad that has been appearing around California shows a smiling face of a little girl with chubby cheeks drinking sugar through a straw. In reality, the young girl is much thinner and healthier. The ad digitally altered the child model’s weight to make her look fatter.

Not surprisingly, the public isn’t happy about making a perfectly healthy little girl look unhealthy. But the agency that created the ad said the goal was to create dialogue about educating parents on healthy eating.

There is a lot of chatter, but it isn’t positive.

According to the agency who created the ad, focus groups with parents requested that the children look bigger in order to see the dramatic impact of poor food choice actions. They noted that showing pictures of healthy, smiling kids weren’t sending the right message about targeting childhood obesity.

While we do think it is important to educate parents on the growing obesity epidemic in children, we don’t think enhanced chubbiness is the appropriate way to do so. Instead of sending hateful messages about children and their size, it would be better to teach children how to feel supported when they are engaging in healthy behavior like exercise or eating right.

Similarly to the needs of adults, positive rewards help us stick to our healthy goals. They are stimulating and desirable to children too. Spend some time setting positive goals for you and the family and then create positive rewards for healthy behaviors.

  • For kids that are younger you could reward your child for healthy actions with going to the park, coloring or playing games.
  • For children in the 9 to 13 age range you can try movies, time with a friend or family activities like bowling.
  • For teenagers try decorating materials for their room, a sporting event or a new outfit.

Do you have any thoughts on the latest childhood obesity campaign? Do you use healthy rewards to encourage healthy behavior?

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