Dramatic Anti-Obesity PSA Aims To Shock Parents Into Avoiding Feeding Kids Junk Food

Dramatic Anti-Obesity PSA Aims To Shock Parents Into Avoiding Feeding Kids Junk Food

In a year-old PSA that's just recently started going viral, an obese character named Jim is rushed to the hospital because of a heart attack.

The video, created by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, rewinds through Jim's life to show how he ended up breathless on a stretcher. In a stark dramatization, adult Jim guzzles Cokes, waits on fast-food drive-thru lines and plays videogames, child Jim plays older video games (Hello, Nintendo), and baby Jim is fed French fries because it's the only snack that calms him down.

At the end of the spot, while doctors prepare to operate on Jim, a message flashes across the screen: "Your child's future doesn't have to look like this. There's still time to reverse the unhealthy habits our kids take into adulthood," it reads.

While the video implies that Jim's fate is ultimately his parents' fault, the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta's Strong4Life website reassures, "Don’t worry; we didn’t create the video to make you feel guilty."

The actions in the PSA may be extreme -- are most parents force-feeding their babies French fries in their high-chairs? -- but it is meant to encourage moms and dads to instill healthy habits in children early on. While some research indicates that childhood obesity rates have improved among preschoolers, a recent study found that rates among kids ages 2-19 have actually increased over the past 14 years. Given that nearly 1 in 3 parents of children referred to an obesity clinic, tracked in a recent study, did not perceive their child's weight as a health problem, the organization may be onto something by targeting them.

However, a Buzzfeed commenter and mom of one Montana Wildhack joins other critics pointing out that parents' choices are not the only factors that contribute to childhood or adulthood obesity. "Mom and dad in real life might be poor and live in a food desert with limited transport and only access to convenience stores for food, not exactly the place to find kale," Wildhack writes.

Before You Go