BALTIMORE - There is a question facing family’s coast to coast today-- What is a fair - and effective way to encourage overweight kids to lose weight?
An ad hitting the airwaves is causing a firestorm of controversy.
The health experts behind the blunt and startling ads say they are -exactly-what the state of Georgia needs: more straight talk and less "sugarcoating" the crisis.
Nearly 40-percent of Georgia's children today are obese or overweight... Some are even diagnosed with hypertension in the first and second grades.
In this television spot, a child asks his mother a simple question she can't answer.
He says, "mommy, why am I fat?”
The approach here has divided and even angered health officials, with critics saying that you can't shame families into losing weight.
"This campaign is an example of what not to do," said Rebecca Puhl, Rudd Center Yale University Director of Research. "We need to fight obesity, not obese individuals.”
Linda Bacon, who is with the City College of San Francisco said "I think it's not only ineffective, it's actually quite damaging, if kids feel bad about their bodies, they aren't going to take good care of them."
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta hired the actors, and is spending $25 million to spread this message, and they refuse to apologize.
"This is a medical crisis, and we can't continue to stand by and let this happen to our state and our country," said Linda Matzigkeit, a senior vice president of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
These in-your face campaigns have worked before. Harrowing meth ads helped drop teenage meth use in Montana by 50 percent.
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