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‘Shame on Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta … Not the Local Kids!’ Says the National Eating Disorders Association

January 11, 2012

Shocking Ad Campaign is Harmful to Children

NEW YORK — Jan. 6, 2012 — For Immediate Release — The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is calling on Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) to dismantle an alarming, anti-obesity ad campaign that targets and shames children.

The campaign, “Stop Sugarcoating,” aims to increase parental awareness of childhood obesity and improve children’s health in the state with the second highest rate of childhood obesity in the nation. However, the ad campaign is most successful at shaming youth who are overweight and reinforcing societal prejudice against children who do not have an “ideal” body type.
Commented Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA, “Every day we hear about the terrible rise in bullying within our schools, yet this ad campaign could actually promote and give permission to such behaviors among kids. Sadly, these ads will be successful in shaming children with weight problems and their parents, but will do nothing to promote and educate about wellness and emotional well-being. Shame on Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta … not shame on the local kids.”

By legitimizing this sort of public bullying of overweight children, many critics say the campaign is actually dangerous to kids. According to a just-released report by U.K. eating disorder charity, Beat, as many as 65% of people with eating disorders say bullying contributed to their condition. The survey also found that 49% were less than 10-years-old when the bullying started and many stated that the effects had stayed with them into their 40s and 50s. Sadly, only 22% received help to overcome their bullying.

Thus far, CHOA has been unresponsive to concerns, but NEDA remains hopeful that the organization will listen and begin a dialogue with experts on how to responsibly discuss health issues in the future.

Adds Grefe, “Responsibility starts with them pulling the ads, then we would be happy to bring experts to their table to help them help the children of Georgia through responsible messaging that is positive and will do no harm.”

View the “Stop Sugarcoating” campaign at: www.strong4life.com

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), headquartered in New York City, is the leading U.S. non-profit organization supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care. Each year, NEDA helps millions of people across the country find information and appropriate treatment resources through its toll-free, live Helpline, its many outreach programs and website. NEDA advocates for advancements in the field and envisions a world without eating disorders. For more information, visit www.NationalEatingDisorders.org.

# # #
For Treatment Referrals, Visit www.NationalEatingDisorders.org
Or Contact NEDA’s Live Helpline: 800-931-2237
Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (EST)

Contacts:
Greenleaf & Associates – 323-660-5800
Vicki Greenleaf – vicki@greenleafandassociates.com
Karen Brundage – karen@greenleafandassociates.com

Available for Interviews:
• Lynn Grefe, president & CEO of NEDA
• Doctors, psychologists, & other eating disorder treatment specialists throughout the country
• Recovered eating disorder patients
• NEDA ambassadors

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