Obesity Ads Targeting Fat People and Pissing Them Off

There's been quite a ruckus over a series of new PSA's by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota asking overweight parents to set a better example for their overweight children. In the ads, parents see their bad habits spilling over into their children's lives in the form of Cocoa Krispies and orange soda, basically saying, "Hey, fat mom, it's your fault that your child is fat too."

It's a shaming tactic and it's really making people upset.

The lady-centric site Jezebel has been all up in arms over the ads with a lengthy diatribe about how ineffective this type of mortification approach is. According to author Lindy West, fat people already know they are fat and telling them won't do any good. Plus, telling kids that they are over-weight is just plain mean. These poor kids already have enough to deal with, what with Pillsbury and KFC cutting out trans-fats.

I hate to be facetious, and I am not trying to be offensive, but how can one argue with the logic that parents with poor eating habits beget children with poor eating habits? Perhaps these new PSAs are just not going about it the correct way and they need to rethink their approach. However, according to an NPR report on the topic, alternate methods have been attempted.

Marc Manley, the vice president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota who assisted in the creation of the ads, had tried other approaches.

"Our intent in creating these ads was really just to show good parents having moments of realization that they needed to change their own behavior in order to send the right message to their kid," Manley says.He says the nonprofit used to put out PSAs that were more positive, like this encouraging people to get up and dance. But, he says, the problem of obesity in Minnesota and nationwide is so tough, they needed a new, more dramatic approach.

So is there an effective way to tackle this situation in a delicate and PC manner? There is no denying that there is an obesity problem in this country when it has been stated that by 2019 obesity will be the number one cause of death in the United States. But if we aren't allowed to poke the problem in its (soft) middle than what is the answer? And don't say banning sugary sodas because no one think that is a good idea at all. Check the ads out for yourself.