The Village, Social Media, and a PSA Video

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Recently a PSA video on childhood obesity on YouTube became very popular and received over a millions views. The video was very powerful and provided slightly scary imagery. After seeing the video two times, a few things immediately came to mind regarding this issue. Social media has the ability to communicate and elevate an issue in the public discourse. All forms of communication really come down to the conversation, which should be the goal of any PSA video. Images in the video were more than just that of the patient/child, but others in “ the village” surrounding the child.

Organizations and individuals have used social media to as a vehicle to get support for various causes. This PSA being posted on YouTube along with the views it has received have raised the visibility of this tremendously important issue. The conversation has been vigorous and lively in the comment section where this video has been posted. It has created a ripple effect as so many times happens with social media. Countless “social media campaigns” have been successful such as #BringBackOurGirls, ALS ice bucket challenge, and the Arab Springs uprising.  As a manager who leverages technology and consults regarding it the platform when used strategically can be a game changer.   Social media is a powerful tool, but it must be use precisely, thoughtful, and align with a strategy for improving healthcare outcomes in this instance.

This YouTube video may assist increasing awareness among the public and support to eradicate this epidemic. Childhood obesity will require a whole village to create improvements in the lives of obese children. My thoughts gravitated in that direction during the video because of everyone in the village shown such as teachers, other kids, clinicians, etc had a part to play in the child’s health. Studies have shown that who one hangs out with can determine their health and obesity profile. Additionally, where one livesPSA on Obesity has a big impact on someone’s health. That last point really reflects the village concept. Though the video shows a parent at the end discussing parenting related to food, I came away asking what I can do to assist parents and other care givers of children. As a result, I am formulating some ideas that I will blog on later.

Blogging such as everything else is about the conversation including that PSA related to child obesity posted online. It is my hope that genuine conversation manifests as a result of this PSA. PSAs are needed, since many times society doesn’t want to have the hard conversations about sex, drinking, etc.  Even worse than not having the conversation, are situations when parents and others “in the village” are ill informed about a topic such as childhood obesity. Also the discussion should not about shaming or blaming busy mothers. They are not the only source of this problem. Parents do play a critical role in a child’s nurturing process, but we as a society need to provide resources as well as create work/life balance culture to support busy parents. That teacher in the video who game him candy for getting an A shares some responsibility for his obesity along with his parents and others “in the village”. Also we must look in the mirror as well as individuals. I am ashamed to admit it, but I have given people cookies for gifts yet don’t consume them. My take away for immediate change is not to give out sweets and other fatty foods as gifts to others. We have to work together with parents to stem the tide of childhood obesity in society.

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