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Letter to CHOA from the Obesity Action Coalition

January 11, 2012

From the original PDF.

Dear Mr. Frieson,
We are writing you today on behalf of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), a national 501c3 registered nonprofit with a mission to elevate and empower those affected by obesity through education, advocacy and support. A major focus of the OAC is to eradicate the negative stigma and weight bias of individuals affected by obesity.

An OAC member alerted us to a childhood obesity awareness campaign that the Georgia Children’s Health Alliance has recently launched (www.stopchildhoodobesity.com). As you are well aware, childhood obesity is a nationwide epidemic affecting more than 30 percent of U.S. children. For the first time in history, America’s children are being diagnosed with obesity-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and more. This is also the first time in our nation’s history where the life expectancy of our children is less than that of their parents.

While we agree with the Georgia Children’s Health Alliance that a need for increased awareness centered on childhood obesity is great, we absolutely condemn the imagery, content and focus of the campaign. The statements of the campaign, located below, greatly promote the negative stigma, weight bias and bullying often associated with obesity and childhood obesity.

  • “Chubby Kids May Not Outlive Their Parents”
  • “Fat Kids Become Fat Adults.”
  • “Big Bones Didn’t Make Me This Way. Big Meals Did.”

The messaging of the campaign is purely fuel for the fires that represent the non-stop onslaught of teasing and bullying that America’s children, affected by childhood obesity, face daily.

In a recent survey of our membership and the general public, more than 82 percent of Americans felt your campaign was hurtful toward children and more than 83 percent felt the campaign was offensive. We also received comments, such as:

  • “There are better methods of getting the word out without humiliating children or adults.”
  • “I feel this is very offensive. I feel there is another way that they could get their point across.”
  • “This is absolutely disgusting.”

As the OAC represents the more than 93 million Americans affected by obesity, we respectfully request that you immediately retract the Georgia Children’s Health Alliance’s campaign on childhood obesity to ensure that no further children are targeted for their weight based on the inappropriate messaging of your campaign.

The OAC is standing-by ready and willing to assist the Georgia Children’s Health Alliance in crafting a new and appropriate campaign to combat childhood obesity without stigmatizing children nationwide.

Sincerely,
Joseph Nadglowski
Barbara Thompson
OAC President and CEO OAC Chairman of the Board

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