Challenging Dogma

Monday, May 7, 2012

Strong4Life “Takes Out The Fun” Of Being An Anti-Obesity Campaign- Sangah (Ivory) Kim

With the problematic childhood obesity rates in the United States, public health professionals have attempted many ways to defeat this constant battle. Endless programs have been implemented over the years all over the United States. Some were shown to be effective, some not as much. Despite this effort, the childhood obesity rates have steadily increased over the last 20 years in the US.
Although obesity-associated morbidities occur more frequently in adults, significant consequences of obesity as well as the antecedents of adult disease occur in obese children and adolescents (2). As the numbers of children with chronic diseases goes up, the cost of health care will increase in order to treat them in the future. Thus, it may be most logical and beneficial to intervene at a younger age to minimize the risk of developing possible chronic diseases and reduce the burden on the US healthcare system.
            In 2011, as a part of childhood anti-obesity intervention, Georgia took the issue a little more seriously and headed in a different direction. To fight this crisis, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta saw the growing problem in their state and launched a program called Strong4Life. According to the data reported from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia has the second highest childhood obesity rate in the United States, topping at about 1 million children, and reported that 75% of parents in Georgia who have obese/overweight children did not recognize the problem (1).
Strong4Life mainly used advertisements, billboards, websites and other types of social media to engage and grab the attention of the public about this epidemic. The advertisements were part of a five-year, $25 million anti-obesity effort. Although the funds included other programs like training pediatricians, getting programs in schools, and setting up a clinic to treat the medical and psychological issues related to obesity, the majority of their funds were dedicated to the advertisements and billboards that were made to “wake up” the population of Georgia (1).
Regardless of their initial “good” intent, the Strong4Life interventions have many flaws. This paper attempts to discuss the shortcomings of this intervention and how it can be modified or more effectively designed in pursuing their goal.

Criticism of Intervention 1: Strong4Life blames the parents for the problem of childhood obesity with negative statements.

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