Shock is the name of the game in the most recent ads from New York City’s health department, as they aim to scare people away from drinking soda and eating fast food with some jarring images. One such ad shows the increasing size of sodas set in front of a backdrop of diabetic man with most of his leg amputated.
The New York Times reports on the latest set of posters, in both English and Spanish, which show how portion sizes of soda and French fries are increasing. The ads are displayed in subway stations, and feature images of various unhealthy people, including the amputee.
The goal is to warn that as those serving sizes increase, so have rates of obesity and diabetes.
“Portions have grown. So has Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to amputations,” reads one headline over a series of ever-more voluminous soft-drink cups. In the background sits a man in a wheelchair with a stump where his right shin should be.
The ads are trying to do what the city couldn’t when it failed to ban citizens from buying soda and other sugar drinks with food stamps. Experts say the average cup of soda was around seven ounces in 1955, compared to the all too common sight of a super-sized 32-ounce beverage now.
Unsurprisingly, the American Beverage Association isn’t too happy with the health departments efforts.
“Portion control is indeed an important piece of the solution to obesity,” said Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for the association. “But instead of utilizing scare tactics, the beverage industry is offering real solutions like smaller portioned containers and calorie labels that show the number of calories in the full container, right up front, to help people choose products and sizes that are right for them and their families.”
The tactic of shocking people into being healthy isn’t a new one — just a few weeks ago, the “Stop Sugarcoating It, Georgia” anti-obesity campaign made headlines with its ads featuring overweight kids. A sample tagline from that effort: “WARNING. It’s Hard to Be a Little Girl When You’re Not.”
In New Ads, Health Department Offers Super-Sized Warnings [New York Times]