I've already touched twice on the anti-obesity campaign in Georgia, and I'm not sorry for anything I've said. But its return to uproar prompted by the National Eating Disorder Association also brought comment from Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, and I want to help him be heard.
He and I are similar-minded on NEDA's complaint, which is that these ads are stigmatizing. "The ads cut straight to the point -- childhood obesity is real and we can't continue to turn a blind eye towards it," is how he expressed it.
But he went on to say that he doesn't think the campaign will help, which I didn't address. (Editor self to writer self: "Why not!?") Freedhoff points out that the ads lead to a website with not-very-helpful one-line recommendations, such as urging parents to talk to their doctors. As if! Most doctors are barely trained in nutrition — mere hours in a multiyear curriculum — and generally, they don't value nutrition any more than other Americans.
Parents might as well consult a registered dietitian, too. These are the nutritional "experts" who've presided over the ballooning of America.
Freedhoff's other great point may reflect some of NEDA's original concern, though if so, he did it better.
The real problem with these ads is that they suggest that we're going to solve this problem on an individualized, case-by-case basis. Childhood obesity is the symptom. The environment is the cause. If we want a cure, it's the cause we need rally against and not the symptom.
You can follow Freedhoff on Twitter here.