Obesity Ad Photoshops Girl to Make Her Look Overweight

First 5 is a government agency in California aimed at - among other things - curbing obesity in children. It's a great cause, no doubt. They are, however, getting a little bit of backlash over a campaign that is currently featured on posters around California. The ad features an overweight, little girl drinking from a bag of sugar with the caption, "Sugary drinks like juice, sports drinks and soda can cause obesity. Choose milk and water instead." But some people are a little upset over the fact that the girl in the image isn't actually overweight - she's been photoshopped.

The person leading the charge is Marilyn Wann, author of the book, "FAT!SO? : Because You Don't Have to Apologize for Your Size." She posted the images side-by-side on her Facebook and Tumblr page. According to Wann, "Children deserve to be protected from this kind of damaging fearmongering. (And from creepy Photoshopping!)," Other people on this side insist that this is "fat shaming" and does nothing to combat the obesity issue - saying how it's just an attack on obese people.

This isn't the first time that First 5 has produced an ad like this either...

screen shot 2013-06-06 at 9.41.42 am

Personally, I'm less offended at the ad and more offended at the mediocre Photoshop work. There is a worthwhile argument here, though. In a world where virtually anything is possible with images, should we draw the line somewhere in regards to who is in the ad - like kids? PSA's, in particular, are definitely getting more and more aggressive with their messages. Then again, maybe a little aggressiveness is exactly what we need.

Via The Huffington Post

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Mr Blah's picture

While that Wann woman is right (this amount of photoshop isn't OK to REDUCE the apparent weight of any model, why should it be OK to ADD weight...), her book is fucking retarded.

Being over weight is bad for anyone's health and she souldn't minimize the impact it has...

Adam T's picture

Why photo shop there is a ton of fat kids to use.


Robert Huber's picture

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I think photoshopping an image of a healthy-weight child is a more sensitive approach than using an obese child's photo and scarring them as a public example of something negative or undesirable.

Chris Knight's picture

I think that is a great point.

Tim Gallo's picture

what is ironic, is that they follow the same rules of industry. they choose a cute kid from a model agency that would look cute even after photoshopped. and than photoshop him.
why don`t we all agree... that ads, even with some moral agenda, are still ads and follow the basic rules of adbiz.

Elliott Montello's picture

Yeah man compleaty agree, because this way the 'fat person' doesn't really exist and can't be hurt by the attention this ad would bring.

Alex.G.'s picture

But someone has to wake up those abusive parents because it is abusive to a child that was just born and doesn't know any better to make them obese before their 10th birthday! We go to Disney a lot and you have no idea what some poor kids look like, and then you see the parents and go: "Ohhhhhh, that's why! its the family that can't stop "F"eating!"

ok's picture
Simon's picture

So it's better to use a picture of a real obese kid? First off, that kid wouldn't consent to the image, their parent would. Second, I am sure that none of us would like to know that our parent consented for us to be photographed and used as a poster child for something like obesity. I applaud them for making a pseudo-child to get their point across. As crude as the images are, they are doing a lot more good than harm, they get the point across and don't traumatize a future adult.

Christian Haubold's picture

As long as the model release stipulated the purpose of the photograph and that it would be digitally manipulated there is really no legal issue. This is between the agency, photographer, and child (it's guardians). I personally however am pretty wary about these shock-factor ads and don't think they are effective. There are far more creative and subtle ways to get the message across it just takes a little more effort on the ad agencies part.

Willi Kampmann's picture

I think it's better to "fake" a fat child than to actually expose a real fat child in an ad – but frankly, I'm more offended by the advise to drink milk instead of juice. Milk has even more calories than juice and lots of fat. It's low on vitamins and there are several studies linking milk to various health problems; which is not surprising considering it's actually not natural to keep consuming milk after infancy. We are already consuming far too many dairy products. I'm pretty sure juice is the lesser evil (provided it's natural juice without any supplements), but *recommending* milk is like recommending switching from beer to wine to avoid alcoholism.

Anonymous's picture

If it is really such an issue, they shouldn't have a problem finding a kid who really is overweight.

Alex.G.'s picture

They don't sell enough mirrors in the US anymore! ANYONE who would oppose this ad in an idiot who has not seen his/her FULL self in a loooooooonngggggg time! The ad was quite nice actually, I could have made it look a lot worst, and a lot more honest! & My tag line would have read:
"If the 'beauty' is on the inside, please tell me how long it takes to get there through all these fat layers?!

Alex.G.'s picture

My guess is that those "upset" by the ad have not had the correct BMI in their entire lives. BTW Just cause they sell food everywhere that doesn't mean you need to eat it all! This is a side effect to those who shows who entice people to eat the biggest hot dog, and the biggest burger etc etc etc you know what shows I am talking about. I cannot go to an affordable (or chain) restaurant in the US anywhere because the portions are meant for elephants! We'd be spending our grocery money for two weeks on one meal! anyone been to Golden Corral??? its an "experience" for sure!

Elliot Parrott's picture

Did anyone else notice that he said "Fast 5", instead of "First 5" on the third paragraph? Someone's got Fast and the Furious on the brain :P

Elliot Parrott's picture

"This isn’t the first time that Fast 5 has produced an ad like this either…"

Chad E Currie's picture

I have no problem with the ads personally and I have to agree with an earlier comment, I think it is better that they used a heathy child instead of using an fat kid. I do have to wonder if the photoshop work was done like that on purpose, so that you could tell it was obviously post-processed. People need to take it serious though and if using a young child, who's parents consented to this, to make the point stops one kid from being fat... GOOD

fatso's picture

This as they produced seems less offensive:

thanos769's picture

Marilynn Wann is just an advocate for being obese. The name of her book FAT!SO? says it all. People like her and those in her organization just want the country to get fatter and fatter so that instead of working out and losing weight lazy people like her will be accepted as the norm when everyone is fat.