Smallstep.gov Ads

For the past three days, I’ve talked about our need to focus more on health and less on weight. The conference I attended last weekend opened my eyes to just how much we focus on weight, including in our advertisements. Five years ago, the government released ads aimed at overweight and obese people. These ads were produced by the same company who did the “Priceless” commercials for MasterCard. They were part of a big campaign to get people to lose weight (the website can be found here). Have you seen any of these?

Catching? Yes. Funny? Sometimes, yes. But the message is too off: Lose weight, and everything will be fixed. Not to mention they are singling out overweight people, and ignoring the fact that “thin” people can be just as unhealthy. Our genes are powerful! There is this belief that becoming thin will solve all of our problems, whether they be health, self-esteem, or other types of problems. However, this is just too simplistic.

From a March 2004 Boston Globe article:

The print ads show close-ups of unshapely hips, flabby stomachs, double chins, and very round derrieres. Superimposed are a series of dotted lines, showing that gradually increasing exercise could trim the fatties down to sleeker figures.

Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health-advocacy group, said she was happy the Bush administration was drawing attention to obesity but called the ads "a half-measure" to address it. "What they should be doing is trying to get junk food out of the schools, requiring calorie-labeling on chain-restaurant menus, prohibiting junk-food marketing aimed at children, and funding every state program to promote physical activity."she said.

From a nutrition perspective, I encourage people to eat foods that provide their bodies with the nutrients they need. Try to eat food for health’s sake. This perspective may take time and some people may always have “weight” on the mind, but at the very least, when we do eat healthy, we should appreciate the balance we are bringing to our bodies.

Tomorrow I have a new recipe for you guys – simple but fun to make at home!