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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ad campaign targets parents of overweight kids

obesity campaign.jpg

REGION

The images are not subtle. One billboard shows an overweight child's lower legs and feet on a scale next to the words, "Fat Chance," along with a list of the health risks of obesity. A second billboard shows the back of an overweight child and asks, "If that's your kid, what are you waiting for?"

The billboards are part of a $250,000 public awareness campaign that is meant to awaken area parents to the dangers of childhood obesity, said Martin D. Cohen , president of the MetroWest Community Health Care Foundation.

"We need to get their attention," said Cohen, whose foundation will launch the campaign Monday.

Susan Green, a 48-year-old Wayland mother of two who served on a task force that helped develop the campaign, said she understands the images may be jarring and even insulting to some parents.

"People are concerned that parents may become upset by it," said Green. "There is the risk of turning some people off, but I'm hoping it won't, and will be the first step toward developing awareness if their child is obese."

The campaign also will include television spots and print advertisements. In addition to the campaign, the foundation has handed out more than $1 million in grants to schools, community centers, and social service groups for fitness, nutrition, and health education programs aimed at reducing obesity.

Read more of this story in Globe West.

-- John C. Drake

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