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עיצוב: Eyal Nerya Nissan
Ad reading "obese child today, fat and ugly tomorrow"
Photo: Eyal Nerya Nissan
Anti-obesity ads stir controversy
New anti-obesity campaign irks medical officials and regulators who fear offensive ads contribute to stigmatization and shame children instead of offering them proper tools for weight loss

Billboards were hung throughout the streets of Tel Aviv on Wednesday as part of a new campaign against child obesity.

 

 

The posters feature obese children along with offensive captions, such as the letter L, representing the word 'loser', and includes pictures of overweight children as unhappy outcasts. The campaign inspired so much flak, that it was eventually replaced by a new one, carrying a more proactive message.  

 

Ad campaign reading: 'When your child gains weight, his smile gets smaller' (Photo: Screen capture) (Photo: Screen capture)
Ad campaign reading: 'When your child gains weight, his smile gets smaller' (Photo: Screen capture)
 

 

The first to voice their protest against the ads were dietitians, who said the campaign could cause serious damage to children, and may even lead to eating disorders. Many others expressed their objection through social media, calling to immediately remove the offensive campaign from Israel's streets.

 

Pediatricians also joined the protestors. The Israeli Pediatric Association is calling to "immediately remove the repulsive, degrading ad campaign that targets the children of Israel who have been accused, for no fault of their own, of obesity." They added that the campaign may justify their feelings of exclusion.

 

The union leaders suggest fighting obesity in other ways, calling for the implementation of a long-term national program that focuses on nutrition, health and physical activity education.

 

Additional ad campaign reading: "Most cases of depression in children are related to their appearance. Parents! Help you children be happier"
Additional ad campaign reading: "Most cases of depression in children are related to their appearance. Parents! Help you children be happier"

 

They further added that "the campaign used Israeli children for commercial and populist purposes. It should be immediately removed and the issue of obesity should be treated as a national problem."

 

CEO of the National Council for the Child, Dr. Isaac Cadman, echoed the claims, and called for an end to the offensive campaign.

 

In a letter to the Commissioner of Consumer Protection, Dr. Cadman wrote: "Consumer protection regulations include a series of restriction on advertising, among them a regulation requiring ads to avoid situations in which minors may be pushed to do things that can badly effect their health or wellbeing.

 

"The dangerous ad campaign unnecessarily harms obese children and may lead them to commit serious acts, make them a mockery in the eyes of their friends and induce their harassment.

 

"For these reasons I ask you to put your influence and authority to use and bring the harmful and negative ad to a stop."

 

Following negative reactions over the campaign, the media company responsible for the ads announced that it will immediately remove the billboards. Instead, new billboards will be installed, carrying the slogan "Now that the ads are down, it's in your hands"

 

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