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Child Obesity Campaign Raises Questions About Stigma

The U.S. state of Georgia has launched an anti-obesity campaign targeting girls and boys, but it has run into controversy. The campaign features overweight kids depicted on billboards with attention-grabbing slogans. While some critics praise the jarring ads, some academics, activists and parents say the campaign only stigmatizes obese children.

The ads were created by the Georgia Children’s Health Alliance, and this group says these ads can shock the parents of overweight and obese kids into action. Nationwide, cities, states and even the White House have launched staunch anti-obesity efforts. But, skeptics say these campaigns can increase the discrimination against obese people.

Research reveals that there is widespread discrimination against the obese in the media, workplace, schools and among providers of health care. Even first lady Michelle Obama’s widely acclaimed “Let’s Move” campaign against obesity has drawn flak for allegedly stigmatizing heavy kids.

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