Media Coverage of Obesity Expands

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • Certain states across the nation have begun to air creative commercials and bulletins highlighting all aspects of childhood obesity. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has now joined the movement, teaming up with The Advertising Council to run a series of radio ads on 850 radio stations nationwide, targeting this health danger.


    The ads will be delivered in both English and Spanish and tries to use humor and specific tag lines like "We Can!" which is a program created by the NIH aimed at promoting better health and healthier weights in kids and teens. The ads are supposed to begin in May and the cost of advertising was quoted to be about $30 million. The Clear Channel stations have about 235 million listeners monthly and they will be experiencing a campaign, that for the first time,marries the Ad Council with a media partner.

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    This is not the first time that the Ad Council has highlighted obesity in an effort to raise awareness. An adult awareness campaign targeting obesity was featured back in 2004, and in 2005 there was another campaign that highlighted the importance of kids "eating healthy," which the First Lady, Michelle Obama has now continued. This campaign aims to "promote healthy eating and healthy habits among kids." It employs really cute humor, re-writes the words to popular songs, highlights healthy activities and uses the local websites of radio stations to offer additional information. As usual experts are split on the success or goals of a campaign like this. One expert felt that way too many choices and recommendations are made, almost overwhelming the listener. Another expert championed the project because of its tactical approach and because actual tools and "do's" are offered, rather than just discussions about how to do better.


    On May 14 and 15, HBO will feature a 2 part documentary on this current health crisis. The series, Weight of the Nation aims to put childhood obesity front and center on people's radar. HBO has "raised awareness" before, with documentaries on addiction and Alzheimer's disease. Collaborating with HBO on this project were National Institute of Health, Kaiser Permanente, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and IOM (Institute of Medicine). It took 3 years to make the documentary and many heavy hitter experts weigh in during the program. Challenges, the first part, explores all the contributors to this epidemic - evolutionary biology, physical inactivity, socio-economic inequalities, and makes a huge indictment of junk food. It also highlights the federal subsidies that promote the financial benefits of growing certain foods versus fruits and vegetables.


    If you don't get HBO, the films will be available for free online.


Published On: May 03, 2012