Dear Carter’s —
Carter’s, the clothing store for infants, toddlers and children, has donated over $100,000 to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the organization running Strong4Life’s advertising campaign, which has been condemned by the National Institutes of Health (PDF), Kaiser Permanente, the National Eating Disorders Association, the Obesity Action Coalition, and the Academy of Eating Disorders.
The ad campaign, which uses shame and stigma to encourage health lifestyle changes, runs the risk of doing severe, long-term psychological damage to the children they target, according to the NIH:
[T]his campaign carries a great risk of increasing stigma for those children who are overweight or obese which, in turn, can reinforce unhealthy behaviors (e.g., overeating). A number of research studies over the last decade have supported this concern. For example, studies suggest that overweight children who are teased about their appearance are more likely to binge eat or use unhealthy weight-control practices, and weight-based victimization has been correlated with lower levels of physical activity. Not surprisingly, stigmatization of obese individuals, particularly adolescents, poses risks to their psychological health.
Rather than ending this phase of their campaign, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has removed all billboards except those in the poorest, urban areas of Atlanta. We strongly believe that this strategy has taken an already troubling campaign and turned into a vile exploitation of the most vulnerable populations.
We believe that the philosophy of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Strong4Life campaign is in direct opposition to the philosophy of Carter’s. We are asking Carter’s to end all current and future financial support for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta until they end this campaign in EVERY neighborhood, and not just the affluent or suburban areas.
We will continue to tie Carter’s to Strong4Life until they have announced their intention to stop supporting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
If you support our boycott, please email Carter’s at email@example.com and on their Facebook page.