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Stop Strong4Life

January 10, 2012

How are we going to stop Strong4Life? By speaking out and letting the world know that we will not tolerate the humiliating campaign that Children’s Hospital of Atlanta is waging against fat children.

They keep telling us that the campaign is aimed at the parents, but they’re using our children as the targets. Some fat children face enduring hostility from bullies during school hours, and now they have to face equally degrading messages on the drive home from school?

No.

We will not allow this campaign of shame disguised as a campaign for health to stand any longer.

Take down the billboards and we will go away. Until then, we want Strong4Life and CHOA to know exactly why are the ones who should feel ashamed.

Please write your own letters expressing your opinion on this inhumane campaign.

Linda Matzigkeit (doing interviews in defense of the billboards)
Vice President of CHOA
404 785 7824 (her admin’s number, so please be polite)
linda.matzigkeit@choa.org

Stephanie Walsh (doing interviews in defense of the billboards)
Medical Director of CHOA
404 785 6104 (her admin’s number, so please be polite)
stephanie.walsh@choa.org

Kevin McClelland (who they direct you to for complaints about the billboards)
Public Relations Director for CHOA
404 785 7600
kevin.mcclelland@choa.org

Children’s Foundation
404-785-4483
choagiving@choa.org

As an example of what people are writing, I’d like to share this letter from singer and songwriter Candye Kane.

To Whom It May Concern;

Before you read further, please note that my fan base from my job as a musician/songwriter reaches hundreds of thousands of people world wide. (I have been nominated for seven national blues awards and won many awards all over the world for my music.) I want you to know I have posted this letter on my various social networking sites to express my dismay at your childhood obesity campaign in the state of Georgia. I play in Georgia often and many of my fans are restaurant and bar owners in the state of Georgia. They have also been notified about what I consider to be an onslaught of negativity on large sized people and especially children everywhere.

I have been a fat activist, former plus size sex symbol and professional singer and songwriter my whole life and written many songs about body image and body acceptance – “200 lbs of fun” “You need a great big woman to show you how to love” and “work what you got if its a little or a lot” are just a few of my song titles.

Although I am now an average size 12 adult female, I once weighed close to 300 lbs. In 2007 I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I lost over 100 pounds during my cancer surgery and subsequent treatments. I have chosen after cancer, to limit sugar and avoid the diet cokes, processed and fast food, bread, pizza and alcohol that contributed unnecessary sugar to my diet. Mostly I do so because I only have half of a pancreas now and so sugar is very hard for my body to process but also because sugar has been linked to cancer growth. (Read “Beating Cancer With Nutrition” by Patrick Quillen.)

That being said, I was very proud of my size and very active, even at 275 lbs. I rode my bike daily. I walked for miles every other day on the beach where I live. I danced onstage nightly. I had low cholesterol, low blood pressure and no diabetes or blood sugar issues. Until cancer struck, I was a healthy, large sized woman in her 40s who loved my curvy, sturdy body and was often told I was beautiful, sexy and desirable and had to fight off date offers. Had I been only 125 lbs, which is the suggested weight for my height on the standardized weight charts, I would likely have died from the cancer surgery. Essentially, my 300 lb frame saved my life. In essence, my fat ass SAVED my fat ass.

I think this ad campaign is fat discrimination at its most blatant and disgusting. That this discrimination is being played out on primetime television or on billboards in any city, anywhere is VILE. Fat people are already discriminated against in the workplace and in the culture. I grew up being called names and being ridiculed even though I didnt become overweight (whatever that means…) until I was in my 20s. I had a round face and large breasts at an early age and was called FATSO even when I weighed only 130 lbs and was 5’5.

This ad campaign does nothing to address the fact that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy at ANY SIZE. I have many thin friends who suffer from all kinds of health issues attributed to fat people — diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are just a few of them.

Further, this campaign unfairly targets families who are very likely low income. It is no accident that the “dollar menus” at many popular fast food restaurants are calorie rich and affordable for the poor. Mcdonalds are found in poor neighborhoods far more than they are in upper income neighborhoods. When Congress and school districts are labeling pizza a vegetable, what kind of mixed message are we sending children with this ad campaign full of blame and shame?

Bullying in schools is rampant and our children are killing themselves. How can it be allowed to point a critical, insulting finger at any segment of society, particularly our nations children – who are already under such pressure? Large sized children dont need to be told they are fat – they are already suffering persecution in school and they KNOW they are different. All they have to do is turn on the television, go clothes shopping, open a magazine or buy a Barbie doll to see what the “norm” is in our culture. The chubby little girl, is still that — JUST A LITTLE GIRL. To say she is NOT a little girl, dehumanizes fat people and makes it acceptable for others to follow suit. Or shame her into hiding herself in fear of the insults she surely endures on a daily basis. To give bullies more ammunition to belittle and degrade their classmates will only result in more needless suicides.

Physical activity is essential at any size. This ad campaign would be far more effective were it to show children of all sizes – turning off their televisions, Ipads and playstations, throwing out their Cap’n Crunch and Coca Cola and dancing in the sunshine. SHOW THEM HOW TO BE CHILDREN AND CELEBRATE THEIR BODIES. Teach them how to be tolerant of each other in all their beautiful diversity.

No one has ever been ridiculed into losing weight. One of the main reasons the diet industry is a multi billion dollar industry is because diet programs like Jenny Craig and Nutri System, serve unhealthy foods, loaded in sodium and only help you lose weight while you consume their disgusting, pre packaged foods. The Diet industry is big business and I wouldnt be surprised to find out that they are funding these detrimental ads behind the scenes to boost their own revenue.

Encouraging exercise, healthy foods, and loving our bodies at any size; teaching self acceptance and accepting that most of us will not look like super models; celebrating our miraculous bodies while teaching that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and ages would be the best gift we could give our children. This ad would never be tolerated if a child was asking his black parents “Why am I black?” or his gay parents “Why am I gay?” This ad campaign is REVOLTING AND SHOULD BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY!

Strong4Life and the Childrens healthcare system in Atlanta should be ashamed.

Sincerely,
Candye Kane
http://www.candyekane.com
http://www.facebook.com/candyekaneband

Big Love and Gratitude,

Candye

When we choose actions that bring happiness and success to others, the fruit of our karma is happiness and success
– Deepak Chopra

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2 Comments
  1. Thank you, Candye, very well said.

    Shaming people about body type is just another form of abuse. When people are ready to tackle the real issues like the industry of junk food, the diet industry, the lack of fitness, then maybe we’ll get somewhere.

  2. This letter is amazing and so true. Shaming has never worked to turn people into what others think they should be. I’ve been pleased that there is a focus on stopping bullying of gay kids but appallingly some of the people who support these initiatives do not support the stopping of bulling fat kids. And that the state of Georgia is basically sanctioning the bullying of larger children is appalling.
    Also Candye is absolutely right about the so called “food” products offered by Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem–GROSS! I could pour salt on a piece of cardboard and it would taste better.

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