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Blue Cross Ads Aim To Fight Obesity By Targeting Parents

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CBS Minnesota (con't)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new ad campaign is asking Minnesota parents to start setting a better example for their kids in an effort to fight obesity.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota calls the ads a “reality check’ that aim to make parents stop and think about the nutritional examples they’re setting for their children.

Blue Cross says nearly two-thirds of Minnesotans are overweight or obese. Dr. Marc Manley, Vice President and Prevention Officer at Blue Cross, says the campaign is not about shaming kids.

“We really don’t want to condemn our kids to having the same kinds of health problems that our generation is facing. Obesity causes diabetes, heart disease, even some types of cancer. And we can prevent all those illnesses from happening in our kids if we can set the right example and send them on the right path to healthy eating,” Dr. Manley said.

The television ads are part of the larger “Today is the Day” statewide effort to promote healthy choices and improve the lives of Minnesotans. They’ll run statewide through the first part of 2013.

One ad features a mom grocery shopping with her daughter. After filling her cart with chips, ice cream and sugary cereal, she turns to see her daughter has filled her cart up with the same items.

The second ad features two kids arguing about whose dad can eat more at a fast food restaurant.

“My dad can eat 1,000 chicken nuggets,” one boy says.

“My dad can eat a quadruple burger,” the other boy responds.

One of the boy’s dads enters the shot with a tray full of fast food, just in time to hear one boy say, “My dad can eat 500 corn dogs,” to which his son replies, “Yeah, well one day I’ll be able to eat twice that.”

In each ad, the message “Today is the day we set a better example for our kids” is shown at the end of the commercial.

“We really do hope that people see these ads, pause and think about their diet and what kind of affect it’s having on our family,” he said.

According to the Blue Cross, obesity-related medical spending reached $2.8 billion in Minnesota in 2009. They say that amount will increase to more than $5 billion by 2020, if left unchecked.

Rachel Newby welcomes the ad. She runs Taking Steps Together at Hennepin County Medical Center. Families with children who are overweight or obese spend 17 weeks learning how to cook and eat better.

“I think it’s exciting that the message is out there. I think the more we start talking about it, the better,” said Newby. “We know that if we can make behavior changes now that the long-term outcomes are much, much better.”

Rachel and Dr. Manley hope parents take the Blue Cross ads to heart, making future heart-healthy choices for themselves and their children.

Click here to view the grocery shopping ad and here to view the fast food ad.

For healthy tips from the Blue Cross, click here.

To visit Taking Steps Together’s website, click here.

For TST’s Facebook page, click here, and click here for their recipe blog.

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