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Petitioning Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
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Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

End the "Stop Sugarcoating" obesity campaign

The "Stop Sugarcoating" campaign developed to address childhood obesity sends several dangerous messages to both children and adults. It shames children who are larger, reinforces social prejudices around size by encouraging weight stigma, and rather than focusing on healthy behaviors it uses bullying style advertising to encourage kids to diet and exercise. In short, the campaign traumatizes children struggling with their own feelings about size and may even reinforce their use of food as a coping mechanism. See the campaign here: http://strong4life.com/#

Public bullying of kids and adults because of size is not acceptable. The campaign does not consider that kids of all sizes are susceptible to eating disorders, which have the highest rates of mortality with regard to mental health illnesses. Public shaming is archaeic, dangerous, and inexcusable. Weight stigma is extremely damaging and studies show it actually lends to increased weight. The public health officials who designed this campaign should be embarrassed and do everything they can to stop this campaign. They also owe an apology to the citizens of Georgia and the entire country. The Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) sponsors the National Weight Stigma Awareness Week yearly during the last week of September. We encourage public officials and others to read the information provided about weight stigma on our website at http://www.bedaonline.com/2011WSAW/index.html. We also encourage them to consider the risk/benefits of the campaign they have designed.  We ask you, CHOA, to stop sugarcoating your weight stigma, call a spade a spade, and do the right thing.


Letter to
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

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End the "Stop Sugarcoating" campaign

The "Stop Sugarcoating" campaign was developed to address childhood obesity and sends several dangerous messages to both children and adults. It shames children who are larger, reinforces social prejudices around size by encouraging weight stigma, and rather than focusing on healthy behaviors it uses bullying to encourage kids to diet and exercise. In short, the campaign traumatizes children struggling with their own feelings about size and may even reinforce their use of food as a coping mechanism.

Public bullying of children and adults because of size is not acceptable.

This campaign does not consider that children of all sizes are susceptible to eating disorders, which have the highest rates of mortality with regard to mental health illnesses. Public shaming is archaeic, dangerous, and inexcusable. Weight stigma is extremely damaging and studies show it actually lends to increased weight.

The public health officials who designed this campaign should be embarrassed and do everything they can to stop this campaign. They also owe an apology to the citizens of Georgia and the entire country.

The Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) sponsors National Weight Stigma Awareness Week yearly during the last week of September. We encourage public officials and others to read the information provided about weight stigma on our website at http://www.bedaonline.com/2011WSAW/index.html. We also encourage them to consider the risk/benefits of the campaign they have designed. Why not use positive reinforcement and teach children how to focus on enjoying healthy foods and having fun while moving their bodies? Why not also include information about weight stigma and why bullying children of size is unproductive and wrong? This could be a positive campaign for health rather than a negative campaign that will entrench weight stigma.

We ask you, CHOA, to stop sugarcoating your weight stigma, call a spade a spade, and do the right thing.
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Sincerely,