Staying on Message

Michelle Obama has a very ambitious plan to combat childhood obesity in the United States.  It’s a bold move for the First Lady and they’ve taken some good steps such as producing some public service ads with Sesame Street.

Cleary childhood obesity is a tremendous problem, but the contributors to obesity – TV, video games, fast food and junk food just haven’t been demonized.  Imagine Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign if drug dealers had clowns and cartoon characters as mascots…

I became curious about just how far Mrs. Obama would take this campaign.  Thus far efforts have focused on school lunches (with a nod to Jamie Oliver) and promoting exercise as with the Elmo PSA.  She has not, as yet, faced off with Cookie Monster about his sweet tooth.

Now, we come to Halloween.  That one day during the year when kids walk around the neighborhood and collect as much candy as possible.  By tradition, the Whitehouse has a big event and the president and first lady hand out candy.

In a festive evening, the Whitehouse hosted 2,000 children for trick or treating.

Michelle Obama should have changed the tradition in support of the battle against child obesity.  It was a prime teaching opportunity for this campaign.  A significant statement connected with the Halloween event would have been noticed by the media.

We see more and more hospitals creating smoke-free campuses.  They’re living their mission.  Nothing undermines the doctor’s advice to stop smoking more than walking through a group of smoking hospital employees on their way to the car.  It makes a strong statement because they’re standing behind the principles that they’ve set out.

To see the childhood obesity campaign through to a successful conclusion will require that the principles behind the campaign don’t waver.  More than likely, there will need to be some confrontations to both change behaviors and make a statement that this is important.

Personally, I recommend that Michelle Obama start by confronting Bill Clinton about the Big Macs.

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Ben Dillon

About Ben Dillon

Ben’s a big picture type of guy. He loves sharing new ideas in digital marketing, keeping a watchful eye on healthcare industry trends and seeing how it all intersects. A sought-after speaker, writer, blogger and current SHSMD board member, Ben’s an influential voice in healthcare marketing, helping organizations across the country embrace online strategies to engage health consumers. Combine his industry savvy with his background in software development and you can see why he’s also an important member of Geonetric’s software team, ensuring our content management system stays a step ahead of market needs. Ben holds a master’s degree in eBusiness and strategic management from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan. When he’s not traveling and evangelizing, Ben enjoys cooking with his family and playing the Big House with the University of Michigan Alumni marching band.

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