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Blue Light Special —

January 6, 2012

I have it on good authority that Children’s Hospital of Atlanta (CHOA) has been responding to email complaints (keep ’em comin’!) about their unbelievably fat-shaming campaign (aka Operation Big, Dumb Bully) with a well-crafted response from Kevin McClelland, Director of External Communications for CHOA (if you get a response at all, which I didn’t).

Thanks to Mary Baird, I have obtained a copy of that response:

Dear Ms. Baird:

We want to thank you for reaching out to start a conversation around one of the toughest challenges we face in Georgia for our children. We really appreciate your point of view and want to thank you for the work you do with children. We also want you to know our intent with this first phase of our anti-obesity campaign is to capture the attention of parents and caregivers who are ignoring the severity of this health crisis.

Raising awareness is just the first step of our campaign, and the campaign is only one part of the Strong4Life movement. The campaign will also focus on delivering solutions that will help Georgia families get tools and resources to become healthier, as well as on community partnerships that include schools, early childcare centers, physician and provider training, as well as efforts to encourage policy change.

Experts agree that behavior change will not occur until families are ready for change. Too often organizations skip the important first step of creating awareness and ensuring readiness to change before jumping straight into education and programming. Simply put, if you are not ready to make a lifestyle change, the likelihood of success is minimal.

We know that this ad campaign alone cannot change the childhood obesity crisis in Georgia. Further, no one organization or group can turn around this epidemic on its own. It will take all of us, as a community, as a society, coming together to admit this is a health crisis and most importantly, working together to make a difference at all levels – government, schools and early childcare, camps, physicians and other health care professionals, instituting policy change – it will be a monumental task, but if we work together we can achieve it.

Thank you again for your concern and for joining the discussion on this important issue.


“See? It’s just the first phase. It doesn’t really even count. There’s gonna be, like, 50 more phases. Don’t get your panties in a wad.”

Weird. That response looks familiar, somehow.

Oh yeah, I just read Strong4Life’s Twitter account.

There it is again… Phase 1 is to “capture the attention of parents” who “are ignoring the crisis of childhood obesity.”

And yet these posters feature fat kids sulking over fat jokes.

What’s next? Are we going to make fat kids do the Truffle Shuffle in the town square?

That should get their parents attention, alright.


I understand that people are concerned about childhood obesity. I think it’s a complicated situation and I fully support any program that makes fresh food available to more people and that creates safe and welcoming spaces for people of all sizes to exercise, if they so choose. I think there’s a lot of passionate views about this issue and we all have our experiences informing how we see the issue, so as long as we’re respectfully discussing the issue in an open and honest manner, then I welcome all viewpoints to the table.

But for the love of all the is good, kind and true, can those of you with the money and authority to influence policy and/or create awareness campaigns just agree to leave the fat kids alone? Seriously.

What was that board meeting like?

McClelland: “We need a way to capture the attention of the parents about the severity of the obesity crisis.”

Walsh: “I know, let’s plaster billboards around the city of pathetic fat kids and talk about how often he goes to the buffet.”

McClelland: “Or how about this, ‘It’s hard to be a little girl if you’re not a little girl.’ Get it? She’s fat.”

Walsh: “Oh, I know! How about we tell all the little fat kids out there that they’re going to die before their parents!”

McClelland: “Brilliant!”

Was there no one with a conscience available between the original conception of the idea and the ultimate execution? Did nobody say, “Hey, you guys, isn’t that kind of mean?”

I can’t wait to find out what these geniuses have planned for Phase 2. In fact, I’m starting to speculated already.

What do you think the next Phase of Strong 4 Life will be?

We will be back on Monday to continue pressuring the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta to tear down the billboard and end Phase 1. In the meantime, feel free to send a friendly (or pissed) email to the people defending this community child abuse.

Kevin McClelland

Stephanie Walsh

And check out this awesome example submitted by Mary Baird, which received the robo-response.

To all parties concerned,

I have been made aware of your Strong4Life campaign currently in use by your organization.  As a youth camp coordinator, I see on a weekly basis, the troubles associated with the shaming of children in their daily lives. Kids deal with a lot this day in age, with bullying from their peers, and a media pressuring kids into an unattainable standard of beauty.  It is our mission with our company to provide a safe and nurturing environment for kids of all shapes, sizes, and physical abilities to express their creativity and find the confidence to shine as individuals.  We end up undoing a lot of damage with our policy of positive enforcement.
The challenge of our job is made all the more difficult when we have to fight through the stereotypes these children are subjected to on a daily basis.  Do you know how difficult it is to help a kid to break down the walls of shame and self doubt when they have been exposed to the kinds of message your campaign promotes?  I have seen the most talented and hilarious kids destroyed by a single comment about their appearance.  We forget how fragile and susceptible they are to the words of others.

The Strong4Life campaign, as stated by your twitter account, are directed towards the adults in the lives of kids.  Unfortunately, in making public images and statements, you are unable to regulate who sees your messages.  Kids are likely to see what you’re saying about them and their self perceptions will ultimately be damaged.  You can’t know the ultimate toll these images will have on kids who could possibly be hurt by them.

Again, as an advocate for youth performing arts, I feel it is my duty to leave nothing but positive influence on the lives of kids in our program.  It is not my job to raise these kids, or make assumptions on the way in which their guardians have chosen to guide their lives.  It is not yours, either.  It pains me to see a group using a public forum to make these children feel real negativity. Your assumption on the health status of kids you deem to be “fat” is with no actual merit.  You cannot know anything about a child unless you are their direct healthcare provider, and shaming the entirety of a group of kids you have subjectively deemed to be not good enough is incredibly irresponsible.

I really hope you can reconsider your campaign.  Please take a look at the potential impact you may be having on the lives of children in your city, and please know that shame is not a useful teaching technique.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, or with any updates on the status of your campaign.  I will be keeping close attention on your organizations decisions regarding this issue, and please be aware that the people in opposition to this youth shaming will not be quiet about our feelings.  Your advertisers and the media will know how we feel.

Thank you so much for listening,
Mary Baird

27 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2012 5:57 pm

    Can someone explain to mentally deficient ol’ me how parents “aren’t aware” of the “danger” that obesity poses to our children. I have no met one parent that does not A) micromanage their child’s diet and exercise or B) panic or guilt-trip themselves over not doing it enough.

    I know from experience that the most painful instances of weight prejudice come from family, especiall from parents of teenage daughters. It is 100% normal for teenage girls to put on weight during puberty and to eat more to accomodate their growing needs. Somehow, this is totally socially acceptable for boys but unthinkable for girls. The weight-related abuse I sustained when I was going through this was brutal.

    So no, the issue is not that parents “aren’t aware” of the problem.

  2. January 6, 2012 8:55 pm

    This campaign of shame and tyranny is the most disturbing thing I have seen in a long while. I’m so angry I can’t think clearly. It potentially scars fat children for life, and the fact that CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL is endorsing this emotional terrorism? Doctors, nurses, all of them know that chronic stress and emotional trauma (from long term bullying, for instance) harms young brains, changes them forever. And what this form of domination does to other children is equally horrific–gives them permission to be bullies and to see other children as victims. Creates a perpetrator/victim mentality that is difficult for a child to fight against–BECAUSE they are children, for god’s sake. I’m an RN and this kind of crap leaves me feeling ashamed of the whole medical profession for not SCREAMING or PROTESTING or striking because the medical establishment is allowing this to happen. THEY KNOW THE HARM, we all learned about the brain’s vulnerable development in our A and P classes. They know the life long impact of abandonment. And that’s exactly what is happening. The children are being abandoned by a culture of cruelty and irrational justification of abuse. “Why won’t the grown ups make the hurting stop? I guess I deserve to feel ashamed. I’m bad. I’m ugly.” That is how kids internalize oppression. Doctors know it. Nurses know. Psychologists know it. Where is the APA? The AMA? I feel sick.

  3. vesta44 permalink
    January 6, 2012 9:27 pm

    This is the letter I sent to Kevin McClelland:

    Mr. McClelland:
    Do you know how much damage you’re doing to kids? Not just the fat kids, but all kids. I have a grandson who is 15, 6′ 2″ tall, and weighs 165 lbs. He thinks he’s fat, he’s been called fat by his peers at school for years, and he’s NEVER been fat. But if he were to see one of your billboards, he would see himself up there and so would his peers and they would continue to bully him with your blessing. Thank you so much for helping to destroy his self-esteem. Thank you so much for conflating health and weight, which are two very different things and don’t always go hand-in-hand – fat is not always unhealthy and thin is not always healthy.
    You should be pushing healthy behaviors for all children, not just for fat children. Fat kids already have enough problems without you adding to them by putting them on billboards to be made fun of by all and sundry. Do you really think that their parents don’t know that their kids are fat? Give me a break. With our society’s obsession with all that is thin, how could they not know?
    Until you come up with a way to lose weight and safely keep it off forever, I suggest you take a big cup of STFU.
    Mariellen Wood

  4. Hidi permalink
    January 7, 2012 8:58 am

    I agree with all the comments. I am taking a deep breath and gathering my thoughts. The year just begun and this BS is already circulating around the world. Arrgh…. 😦

  5. Kala permalink
    January 7, 2012 9:07 pm

    One thing I’m not hot on with regard to many of the comments here, is the supposition that the “parents don’t know” aspect of the issue is incorrect. I have not seen any credible evidence posted here or elsewhere that shows that the statement is inaccurate. I can only assume that parents were surveyed in some context, and that it was a conclusion based upon something more than just a guess. Was their science unshakably correct? Who knows, maybe, maybe not.

    I think the premise seems ridiculous to the people here, because from what I’ve read, many of the readers of this blog have struggled with weight, identity, disordered eating, etc. For someone that has in the past had an eating disorder, or spent years of their lives dieting, obviously issues of weight would be in the forefront of their minds, both in the past and currently. But despite all the media messages out there, that’s not how everyone else necessarily lives.

    Perhaps I vary from most of the other posters here, but it doesn’t even sound unreasonable to me that many parents would be unaware of their children’s BMI category. Georgia has a different demographic than many other places, with about 30% of the population as African American, and another 10% Hispanic. That total of 40% for the most populous minority groups in the USA still exceeds my own fairly diverse state of NY (30%, split about halfway between the two races). From what I understand, obesity rates are higher in both minority populations than for the rest of the population, and the cultural implications of obesity are often different in various minority communities as well. Let’s also top off the fact that Georgia has a poverty rate higher than the national average, not strikingly higher, but still higher, and obesity rates increase with poverty as well.

    This of course doesn’t validate their methods or their ad campaign. Healthy behaviors should be focused on, regardless of size, as size is not a diagnosis. However, from a population perspective, where children are less active and eat more poorly, they tend to be heavier. Yes, there is evidence that dieting and overt attempts at weight loss fail, but I’d be truly surprised if you took inactive children that ate unhealthily and helped them through some lifestyle changes, and they didn’t lose fat (I say fat and not weight, because someone who is highly inactive that goes and gain muscle may not see weight loss). No, I doubt they’d all be thin, or all even in the “normal” BMI category, but they’d be less fat.

    • vesta44 permalink
      January 7, 2012 11:40 pm

      Kala – The kids this campaign is aimed at are not kids that are just a “little bit chubby” or who are the ones who are considered to have “baby fat” to lose. If you look at the kids in the posters, they’re the ones who are bullied and teased because they’re fat – who McClelland would say could stand to lose 50 or 75 or 100 lbs. And believe me, if the kids are that fat, their parents know their kids are fat, not just a little chubby, no matter what their ethnicity is. And all of that is beside the point. Until there is a safe way to take weight off and keep it off permanently, this kind of campaign – shaming and blaming fat kids and their parents – is bullshit and needs to be called out and stopped in its tracks. I don’t care how long you shame a fat person, it’s not going to make them permanently thin. I don’t care how long you blame a fat person, it’s not going to make them permanently thin. And making them thin isn’t necessarily going to make them healthy anyway. Conflating health with weight is a big mistake and people need to stop making it, like yesterday already.

      • Kala permalink
        January 8, 2012 9:46 am

        I feel like most of your comment is very straw man. Vesta, you do not need to argue with CHOA through me, and I never said anything positive about their ad campaign. I am speaking from experience that I do not think the lack of knowledge about what constitutes obesity is as uncommon as you believe it to be. I also wouldn’t be surprised if their belief is based on some sort of survey or an actual *method* that got them where they were.

        Well, what do you think? Do you think a hospital just made the whole thing up, about parental awareness? That they took money from the diet industry and then proceeded to make it up? I am saying that they claim to have research, and without seeing it, we can’t make an assessment about how accurate the claim is. You can sit there fuming about your own intuition, but that’s not exactly an analytic perspective that will get you anywhere you want to go.

        Strange that you yourself have dieted for many years, have had unsuccessful WLS, and obviously at some point you bought into the school of thought that was very anti-fat. I’d be hard pressed to believe that you never heard any positive messages that perhaps you were wrong, or that perhaps fat acceptance took some time for you to digest and fully believe in (as in the case for many people). But now that you’ve seen the light, do you honestly think it’s ethical or reasonable be so bitter towards those that do things that don’t fall into line with the school of thought you now adhere to? It’d be one thing if this was a man who was bullying someone with the intent to hurt them, or had committed a hate crime, or had serious lapses in ethics, but I’d hardly say that’s the case with people who work for this hospital. I don’t really think your “fuck them all to hell” level of vitriol will get you very far in this fight.

        • vesta44 permalink
          January 8, 2012 12:55 pm

          You said you “assumed” that parents were polled about whether their kids were fat or not in order for CHOA to make the same assumption that parents don’t know their kids are fat. Are you (and CHOA) telling us that in this thin-centric society, with all the messages/pictures we’re bombarded with on a daily basis about how being fat is bad, that parents can’t tell when their kids are fat? Since when has a program like CHOA’s had to back up any of their claims with actual proof of poll results? Want to bet that if you wrote to them wanting to know how many parents were polled, what their answers were, and what the BMIs of their children were compared to their answers, CHOA couldn’t/ wouldn’t tell you – because that poll, in all probability, doesn’t exist? I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting on an answer from CHOA on that one.
          As for my dieting history, I didn’t diet because I didn’t want to be fat, I dieted because of parental disapproval of my body, because doctors told me if I didn’t lose weight I was going to die in 5 years (obviously they lied), I had WLS because my nurse practitioner lied and said that no surgeon would replace my knees unless I lost weight. I had no idea fat acceptance even existed during all those years, and I hadn’t heard of the existence of HAES either. So taking me to task for the fact that I’m vehemently against fat bigotry in all forms is disingenuous on your part and totally uncalled for.
          As for my getting a form letter response from McClelland, I’m betting that everyone who wrote to them got that same form letter, whether they wrote a nice polite letter or a not so nice nasty letter like mine.

        • Kala permalink
          January 8, 2012 4:18 pm

          They, in their tweet, said that their research showed that parents were not aware. You can sit there and speculate, but I personally will not judge their methods or their conclusions unless I could see where their results came from. You Vesta, can of course be as judgmental as you would like to be. If you want to outright accuse the hospital of making things up, which you are, with no evidence other than your intuition on the matter, go on ahead.

          My point with bringing up personal history, is that it’s pretty silly in any movement that goes against the general grain of public belief, to address those that don’t currently agree with you in a highly antagonistic way. Especially when even those in the movement take time to come around to the ideas behind it. You know nothing about McClelland, but with your vitriol you’d think he was MeMe Roth’s twin brother or something. Do you even know what he looks like, do you have inkling about his experiences? For all you know he could be an up and coming HAES advocate and he doesn’t even know it yet.

          It seems that you view everyone that doesn’t agree with you completely as your enemy Vesta. It really shows when you say things like this : “because doctors told me if I didn’t lose weight I was going to die in 5 years (obviously they lied)” Do you really think that all these medical professionals went out and purposely lied to you, to make money off of you? Do you have proof that they lied, or is that just intuition again? Or perhaps they were uninformed and made the decision with the knowledge that they felt they had? I personally don’t feel that someone being misinformed or incorrect is a liar, or evil. But apparently it’s all the same to you.

      • Kala permalink
        January 8, 2012 9:53 am

        Additionally, do you really think you can be snarky in an email to some professional, any professional, and stick a STFU at the end, and get anything other than a canned response? If I worked for *any* organization, and got such an email, I would delete it. I wouldn’t bother with even a canned response to someone so blinded by their emotions about an issue to be insulting in a first contact situation. Perhaps if you had been reasonable, you still wouldn’t have gotten a good response from them, but you certainly would not have gotten one with the way you sent that email.

        You don’t live in Georgia, you aren’t someone who partakes in their services, it might be a different story if this was your cable company and you were angry and nasty in a complaint. What you did there was troll, and I don’t see what trollling exactly does for fat acceptance and for advocating for a more nuanced view of health and weight.

    • Mulberry permalink
      January 8, 2012 6:05 pm

      What is meant by the statement that many parents don’t know their children are obese?
      Could it have something to do with the arbitrary cutoff points for defining obesity?
      Anybody who watches television or reads a newspaper or magazine has to be aware that there’s an “obesity epidemic”. But such stories are usually accompanied by a picture of someone who’s extremely fat, let’s say 400 pounds or so.
      Then reporters go out and do a story, finding that people are confused about what constitutes overweight and obesity and they come back and say something like “40% of fat people don’t even know they’re too fat!!!” People’s natural reaction to that is that “fat fux are so stooooopid! Har, har, they don’t even know they’re fat. Guess I’d better do the world a favor and tell them!”
      Kala, I wish more of us would be angry like Vesta. The stigma that fat people put up with daily shortens lives. Read some posts on the website FirstDoNoHarm, and you’ll see plenty of examples of people who almost died from delayed medical treatment because some doctor(s) insisted on blaming every problem on their weight. Did the doctors mean well and just not know better? Did the doctors even care? How polite do we need to be to people who are killing us with their ignorance?

      • Hidi permalink
        January 8, 2012 8:30 pm


        I agree with your question, “How polite do we need to be to people who are killing us with their ignorance?”. CHOA is not polite with their campaign. Why should we be with our responses??? Yes, I understand be the “bigger person” (no pun) but come on, seriously? I don’t know about you but if you curse at me I will curse at you back. Im just sayin’.

        Like Maya Angelou said: “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

    • January 8, 2012 10:20 pm

      Can we turn the heat down to simmer? Nobody need to be judging anybody or making any one opinion superior to others. I think a lot of information was thrown out without a lot of explanation, namely because CHOA is being intentionally or unintentionally vague about its research.

      Kala raises a valid point about what they mean when they say that their awareness campaign is because 75% of parents are unaware of the problem. I’m going to write more about this exact subject tomorrow because they have been inconsistent in their application of that statistic, but I don’t have time to cover it now.

      My impression is that it means 75% of parents incorrectly identified the obesity class of their children. This, in and of itself, doesn’t say anything. Children grow rapidly and unless you’re weighing your child on a regular basis and charting that child’s growth percentage (obesity status in children is determined by percentiles (I believe 95th percentile and above is obese and 85th to 95th is overweight, but I’m not 100% on that), not BMI, so you would have to know precisely where your child falls in growth percentiles, something typically done once a year at checkups, unless you have them more often and specifically request the information), then there’s a pretty good chance you wouldn’t know your child’s official designation on the National Obesity Finger Pointing Chart.

      Whatever the rational for the campaign, the execution is what needs to end. If they want to fly a fucking plane with a banner that says, OBESITY KILLS, go to fucking town. But this direct targeting of children is needlessly cruel and inhumane. I cannot imagine what I would have thought if I had seen that as a moderately chubby kid.

      Nevermind what their motivations are. Kevin McClelland could play the fucking Santa for orphans every year, but this campaign is completely and utterly uncalled for, and it must end NOW.

      This week I invite all bloggers to dig through their site. I’ll have resources shortly. CHOA wants to rationalize this humiliation campaign in the name of health. I posed a few honest questions to them about the cause of kidney damage (insulin resistance vs. obesity) and they responded with a link to a “fact page” that has some pretty questionable facts.

      So, for now, let’s direct our hostility toward where it’s deserved: CHOA. There are too many brilliant and talented minds looking at this issue from every conceivable angle for us to fail.

      Tomorrow’s the start of a whole new fight. Let’s call a truce and figure this out.


      • Jane permalink
        January 20, 2012 6:24 pm

        And what does it mean if parents DO correctly identify their children as overweight? As it turns out, that research has been done. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer and colleagues study families. They found that kids whose parents (correctly) identified them as overweight encouraged dieting. At the end of five years, those kids weighed MORE than kids whose parents did not categorize them as overweight although they met the BMI criteria.

        “Accurate Parental Classification of Overweight Adolescents’ Weight Status: Does It Matter?” was published in the journal Pediatrics in 2008. Full text here:

        CHOA is ignoring the data that’s out there. They’re bullying and shaming kids. And their actions are likely to result in kids being fatter than that would have been if left alone.

        • January 20, 2012 9:39 pm

          Holy crap, Jane. Welcome to Fierce Fatties and that’s a helluvan entrance. Great study. I will have to read further.

          I would not be the least bit surprised if Georgia’s obesity rates remain higher than other states for some time. Eight months of this is far too long. It’s time to stop.

          Thanks again for the study. Can’t wait to dig into it.


  6. vesta44 permalink
    January 7, 2012 11:26 pm

    I got a response to the letter I sent to Kevin McClelland and it’s a verbatim copy of the one Mary Baird got. Cookie cutter carbon copy response that ignores the concerns of the people who are writing in to tell them their campaign sucks? Yeah, you could say that. In fact, I will say that that Kevin McClelland could give a rat’s ass what we think and I’m betting that he thinks the more shame and blame he pours on fat kids, the better. Fuck him and fuck his campaign. I’d like to consign his campaign to the lowest regions of hell, right along with him.

    • OVERit permalink
      January 9, 2012 11:23 am

      You cannot blame an entire campaign on ONE person for the huge organization that is CHOA. Do you really think that this was ONE person’s idea and so it was done. You have no idea what you are talking about. Just because one person has the title of Communications Director does not mean that it was idea or in his control to have any kind of campaign. Do you not know that HE has a boss and his boss has a boss. His title of Director is not VP or SVP or CEO or CFO. How do you know if this one person even supported the campaign? Working individuals do as they are instructed. How do you know that in planning stages Mr. McClelland didn’t voice concern or even disagree with the campaign completely. Also if you have noticed in the new articles and the TV interviews, Mr. McClelland has never been involved. The higher executives have been interviewed. Do you not wonder why that is? This one person has NO control. Even if he personally wanted to pull the campaign do you really think that he has that control. Going after someone personally is ridiculous.

      • January 9, 2012 2:53 pm

        Do you have a recommendation aside from Stephanie Walsh as to who we should be contacting? I’ve only seen her name involved in the defense of CHOA. I got McClelland’s name because they were directing me to him when I called CHOA to complain. If you have a better resource for us to contact, please let us know.


  7. Hidi permalink
    January 8, 2012 8:19 pm

    @Kala: You write about judging someone before getting to know the person. Ala McClelland . However, you are judging Vesta based on her letter to CHOA. Talking about whether or not parents are aware of their kids “obesity” or fat, whatever you want to call it, is one thing but making the dialogue personal takes it to another level. It sounds like you may be defending McClelland and yes I am judging because we all do.

    I cannot speak for everyone but I do not support CHOA’s campaign and I will be writing a letter. Kala, you are right about one thing: We do not know who McClelland is but a person’s actions speaks louder than words. By supporting and promoting this campaign, it says a lot about the people behind it.

    As for healthcare professionals, I am not against the person in the white coat or blue scrubs. I have met some wonderful and funny doctors and nurses but I do not support those who do not leave their biases and insecurities at the door. As a healthcare worker, you are there to HELP people not abuse, neglect and ill-treat someone because of their appearance, social economic background, creed and so forth.

    • Kala permalink
      January 9, 2012 6:25 am

      Where am I tell you to be “nice”. Am I asking you to send him a cake and some balloons? No, I am simply saying that if one seeks to engage a professional, in the context of their job, it’s in my mind infantile to do so with a tantrum. Do you think that you will expose more people to HAES, and focus on more body-positive health initiatives, by telling the communications director of a hospital that published something you don’t like, to fuck off? By all means, match vitriol with vitriol, the response one might have that is appropriate for Meme Roth is not the same way you would address Michelle Obama.

      I also never said you shouldn’t reach out to the hospital, and be against the campaign. As director of external communications McClelland is the person to send a message to. Just because I disagree with some facet of someone’s position, doesn’t mean that I’ve opposed everything they said.

      And as for being judgmental? Let me address your last paragraph: no one here knows much about McClelland, and I don’t believe the campaign he was responsible for says much about him. Note that I say responsible for, because we have no idea whose advertising strategy it was, and if the notion was from McClelland or his team, or dictated from on high.

      Here’s Kevin McClelland:
      If you look, you’ll see that he is a public relations person. He is not a doctor, not a medical professional, he is a health care worker only in the sense that he currently works in the health care industry. Do you expect Kevin to be versed in the work of Glenn Gaesser? Do you think he reads obesity research? Do you honestly think this campaign sprung forth lovingly from his loins? We are making a grave mistake by targeting this particular man in any way until he has given us reason to, and just because he is the conduit for communication with the hospital, doesn’t mean that we can use him personally for the target of his frustration.

      I am however, quite familiar with Vesta. While I respect many of her positions, I find myself having a hard time abiding by her acerbic responses when speaking about anyone that she sees to be on the other team. It’s all fuck yous and go to hell and I hope you suffer. Now, this would be one thing, if perhaps this was merely a website for a sounding box for people to reasonably gripe about issues they have relevant to this topic. It’s another thing, when the topic sometimes moves to an evaluation of research, and members of our community seem to think that their intuition trumps all without a thorough (or even sometimes cursory) analysis of the research. It’s another thing yet again, when someone is reaching out supposedly in the name of advocacy, and just goes and trolls the target. I am not trying to silence her, and I’m not asking for censorship. But I am challenging her positions, because I think her outlook is wrong, and her attitude, while perhaps fine in her personal life, detrimental to a movement that has no need for Molotov cocktails when we have both facts and general logic on our side.

      • January 9, 2012 2:47 pm

        Wow, holier than thou much?

        • Kala permalink
          January 9, 2012 5:30 pm

          Feel however you like CC, although I would argue that you are not likely aware of my motivations nor do you know anything about me. If it makes me self-righteous to think that sending fuck yous to people is trolling and not useful in an advocacy movement, then clearly I am totally self-righteous. Or should I just jump on the band wagon, and tell everyone that everything they do in the name of a greater goal is great and kickass even though I think it isn’t?

      • Hidi permalink
        January 10, 2012 8:49 pm


        I do understand your point of view so let’s agree to disagree. Everyone has the right to challenge each other position just as much as the next person. We are Fierce, FREETHINKING Fatties! LOL. With this said, I stand corrected because I was unaware you are familiar with Vesta. As far as being judgmental, we all are whether you believe it or not; this comment section proves that. In addition, my last paragraph is regarding healthcare professionals as a whole not McClelland. I read articles about patient being mistreated because of (fill in the blank) but that is not what this post is about.
        If you are involve in an organization i.e. public relations, marketing, managing, etc., then you do have a sense of responsibility. Since McClelland is a public relations personnel (the link is not working for me, oh well), he will (lack of a better phrase) get hit with the ball; it’s the “nature of the beast”.
        Like Atchka said, “So, for now, let’s direct our hostility toward where it’s deserved: CHOA. There are too many brilliant and talented minds looking at this issue from every conceivable angle for us to fail.
        Tomorrow’s the start of a whole new fight. Let’s call a truce and figure this out.” 😉

      • Jane permalink
        January 20, 2012 6:30 pm

        I don’t think there’s anything wrong with responding (or “targeting” if you will) this man. As a PR person, it’s part of his job to understand public sentiment and inform/advise his clients on it.

        Another part of his job is to act as a “shield” so that his employers don’t have to deal directly with people who object to their actions. So, he’ll absorb what’s going on out there, relay it to his clients, and they’ll discuss. PR people aren’t irrelevant or outside the loop, especially on high-profile campaigns like this.

  8. Kicky permalink
    January 9, 2012 10:16 am

    While I appreciate your passion against the campaign, perhaps you should do a little more research. Not only is Kevin McClelland NOT the person who created the campaign, he has little to do with the planning of the messaging at the inception or in moving forward. Pay attention to the people being interviewed from CHOA. Not once has it been McClelland. He will have no say whether or not the campaign moves forward. So not only are you sending your messages to the wrong person and not getting your points across, you are accusing a good man of something he did not do, simply because of his connection to the organization. Your hatred and vitriol is not just ugly, it’s wildly misdirected.

    • January 9, 2012 2:23 pm

      When I called the main CHOA number and complained about the campaign, they directed me to Kevin McClelland. I also got Walsh’s name because she is doing interviews about Strong4Life. If you have a better contact, we would be glad to hear it. But if they didn’t want us directing our anger at McClelland, then they should provide a better resource.


      • Kala permalink
        January 9, 2012 5:34 pm

        I’d argue that there’s a difference between directing your anger through someone, and directing your anger at someone. Vesta’s letter, which I took great objection to, directs her anger straight at the man, when the man is a PR person and a conduit to the inner workings of the institution responsible for the disagreeable campaign. If I go to a restaurant and there’s a piece of glass in my food, it’d be pretty ridiculous for me to start screaming at the waiter, when he is merely the front of the house staff that I interact with, and didn’t have anything to do with the preparation of the food.

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