Activists for the Overweight Stand Up to Obesity Campaign in Georgia

Categories: Edible News

Courtesy of Strong4Life
Is this ad too harsh?

An obesity campaign started by a hospital in Georgia called Strong4Life and featuring giant billboards with pictures of unsmiling overweight people has been deemed too harsh by several groups of activists, reported the BBC

The first group, led by Ragen Chastain, who runs the blog Dances With Fat, launched a countercampaign, which will eventually include billboards and bus-stop signs with pictures of happy-looking people and positive slogans. The project is called Support All Kids Billboard, and it raised $12,000 on its first day of collection toward a goal of $20,000. 

Marilyn Wann, another activist, designed a template so that people could make their own version of the Strong4Life ads, and now there's a Tumblr page dedicated to the project called I Stand Against Weight Bullying

The BBC reported that Shannon Russell, a blogger at Fierce, Freethinking Fatties, collected letters of support against the Strong4Life billboards from public officials and sent them to the National Institute of Health. He received a letter in return from Alan Guttmacher, the director of the Institute of Child Health and Human Development, who wrote that the Strong4Life campaign "carries a great risk of increasing stigma" for overweight children.

According to the BBC, some of the Strong4Life billboards have already been taken down.

For more dining news, head to Fork in the Road, or follow us @ForkintheRoadVV, or me, Alexia Nader, @lexi1602. 

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The only thing billboards, such as these, do is to stigmatize people and set them up for weight cycling.  Rebecca Puhl, PhD, director of research at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University in New Haven stated in a recent interview, “The real reality is that significant, sustainable weight loss is not achievable for most people.” She adds, “We know that the most that we can really expect people to lose and keep off over time from conventional weight loss programs is about 10% of body weight.” “Of course, some people lose more than that, but the vast majority regains that weight within one to five years,” she says. Studies show that dieting, even that considered “naturalistic”, among young people lead to weight cycling [Naturalistic weight reduction efforts predicted weight gain and onset of obesity in adolescent girls;] There is an evidence-based compassionate alternative to conventional dieting: Health At Every Size®. For more information on Health At Every Size, you can find a general explanation on Wikipedia ( or find in-depth research-based information in the book Health At Every Size - The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Dr. Linda Bacon (