As a consumer, you are subjected to around 5,000 advertisements every day, according to the New York Times. Without ads, businesses and organizations would have no way to promote their products, services, and ideas. With that much noise, ads continue to reach a point where they’ll cross any boundary just to be seen, heard, and stand out, and we see that especially where ads for obesity prevention and weight management are concerned.
We compiled the worst obesity prevention ads of 2012. Taking a look at the ads, we asked ourselves, why would these messages ever come to market? And, what would make companies want to advertise their ideas or products in such tasteless, thoughtless ways? The state of Georgia and Active Life Movement are two ads we’ll feature that really missed the mark. However, there is one ad that took the number one spot as the best obesity prevention ad, and that belongs to Nike.
The Worst Obesity Prevention Ads of 2012
The “Stop Child Obesity” ads in Georgia may have done one thing the organization wanted it to, and that was get attention. However, the attention was more backlash than action. The series of ads and billboards were targeted toward parents, but they made the mistake of putting photos of children on the billboards along with messages calling children out and making them feel ashamed for being overweight, also known as fat shaming. With tag lines like “Being fat takes the fun out of being a kid,” the ads created no value for the consumer and the message was read as if you are overweight then you should be ashamed of your weight. Although the ads were never intended to hurt or offend people, it did in such a way that the boards were removed.
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Talk of the fiscal cliff and ObamaCare makes me worry about my overweight friends. I fear it’s only a matter of time before they are blamed for dragging down the economy. Obesity is a huge expense, and unlike other costly health problems, obesity is in plain view.
Today, just over one third of Americans has a Body Mass Index of 30 or more, the obesity range. Per-capita medical spending for those individuals is 150 percent higher than for those who are not obese. The Institute of Medicine and other experts estimate the United States spends between $150 and $190 billion a year on obesity-related problems. Spending is driven by prescription drugs and medical procedures for heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and the other chronic diseases of obesity and by days missed from work and the long-term disability that commonly occurs. When public funds from Medicare and Medicaid pay the bill, everyone is impacted, but even when public funds are not involved, everyone pays higher insurance premiums to cover the cost.
Few of us realize that the U.S. health care reform law of 2010 (ObamaCare) allows employers to charge obese workers 30 to 50 percent more for health insurance if they decline to participate in a qualified wellness program. A growing number of companies have begun to make obese workers enroll in weight loss programs or pay higher insurance premiums. For instance, state workers in Alabama are subjected to at-work weigh-ins and body fat tests. Anyone with a BMI of 35 or more must attempt to lose weight or have $25 automatically deducted from their paychecks. To opt out of the weigh-ins, one can accept the $25 deduction.
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Americans are undeniably getting fatter by the decade with the latest reports showing that more than half of U.S. adults in most states are now obese. In the face of such staggering statistics, one state governor is taking an unconventional stand. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has issued a weight loss challenge this week in an attempt to get Kansans more aware of their health.
According to Kansas Health and Environment Secretary Robert Moser, M.D., the obesity rate in Kansas is near the national average. The state has seen a sizable increase in obesity as rates among adults have increased from 15 percent in 1995 to 30.1 percent in 2010. In addition, nearly one-third of all children are overweight or obese.
For this reason, and by his own initiative, Brownback is declaring an official weight loss challenge for stat employees that will take place between January 15 and May 15, 2013.
“My hope is that the Governor’s Weight Loss Challenge will encourage everyone to work together to make our state healthier,” said the governor in an official press release. “I am challenging teams of five people to compete against my team of five to lose the most percentage weight, with the ultimate goal of taking on and maintaining a healthier lifestyle for years to come.”
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Chaz Bono, child of singing sensations Sunny and Cher, has had his share of difficulties throughout life. The pressures of having famous parents, an addiction to prescription painkillers and alcohol, and a long journey from being born a girl to choosing gender reassignment surgery have been closely scrutinized in the media throughout his life. Now Bono is about to tackle another difficult issue, his weight.
The writer, musician, and LGBT activist reveals on The Doctors November 14 how he has struggled with his weight his whole life. Dr. Travis Stork lays out a plan for the 250-pound, 5 foot 5 1/2 in. Bono to lose 50 to 80 pounds. An upcoming episode will reveal the transformation.
Although he said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that discussing his weight is painful for him, Bono knows that he needs to get help for the problem. “I don’t like to talk about this issue. It’s very personal for me, and very difficult,” he said.
While we applaud Bono’s effort to achieve a healthier weight, it is interesting that he chose to get help from Stork, an emergency medicine physician with no background in weight loss management. He has his M.D. from the University of Virginia and worked at Vanderbilt Medical Center’s emergency room, specializing in trauma care and acutely ill patients. Although well-qualified as a physician, a specialist in weight loss, with experience in fitness training and nutrition, would be a better match for Bono. Stork is better known for his appearance on The Bachelor than any weight loss program. He wrote a weight loss book called The Lean Belly Prescription, but then, he also penned Don’t Be That Girl, showing he feels his expertise is very multi-faceted.
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Vivus Inc. has released a diet pill called Qsymia - one of only two diet pills (the other being Belviq) to be released in the last 13 years. Vivus applied intense pressure on the FDA earlier this year to approve the obesity-targeted drug for for the two-thirds of Americans who have a body fat percentage high enough make them obese.
The problem? Qsymia shares were down 24 percent on Tuesday. Since their launch mid-September, they’ve only seen $41,000 in sales. Analysts were expecting around $310,000 by this point.
Vivus Inc. Chief Commercial Officer Mike Miller stated his concern over the pill’s insurance coverage.
“About 30 percent of patients chose not to fill after receiving a [Qsymia] prescription due to cash outlay,” he said. ”The average retail price for the patient for 30 days or the recommended dose is approximately $160. Currently, we’re seeing one out of five [patients] being covered by third-party insurance with an average co-pay of $62.”
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