WATCH ABOVE: A dramatic PSA features an obese man having a heart attack and goes through a series of flashbacks showing how changing his unhealthy ways at a young age could have prevented his obesity. The video has gone viral with over 1 million views.
TORONTO — An anti-obesity ad with a strong message to parents is going viral: It starts with a 32-year-old man on a stretcher, suffering from a heart attack.
“How the hell does that happen?” the doctors say while inspecting their patient, Jim. Then, in less than two minutes, the PSA chronicles Jim’s life rewinding into his childhood. He’s sipping soda on the couch, eating cookies in the office, and gasping for air as he pushes his child on the swing. There’s his teenage years, sneaking candy bars into his dresser drawer, and his childhood playing video games and eating French fries.
There are also plenty of trips to the drive through and a pattern stitched in throughout the dramatic ad: his parents are ordering the pizza, pouring his breakfast cereal and feeding him juice as a baby.
As doctors cut through Jim’s shirt in the operating room, the PSA warns, “Your child’s future doesn’t have to look like this. There’s still time to reverse the unhealthy habits our kids take into adulthood.”
The PSA was created by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“By now, you’ve met Jim — the character in our Rewind the Future video,” the organization says on its website, strong4life.com.
“Don’t worry, we didn’t create the video to make you feel guilty. We created it to fast forward to the year 2030 to show you what the future might look like for kids if we don’t act now.”
The site offers tips on how to create healthy snacks, and offers nutritional information and tips for parents.
It even includes a section called “Confessions from Jim’s Mom,” where the site’s authors document what his mom might have been going through during his upbringing. (Jim is a fictional character.)
Plenty of research is pointing the finger at early childhood education and parents’ feeding habits as critical health factors.
Being overweight in childhood is often seen as a phase, a “baby fat” kids grow out of. But a study out earlier this year suggests that our weight by the time we enter school could predict our path into obesity as adults.
Kids who are overweight in kindergarten are four times more likely to become obese by their eighth grade graduation than their normal-weight counterparts, a U.S. study that followed the health of 7,000 students suggests.
In another piece of research, U.S. scientists wagged their fingers at busy, multitasking parents who cut corners and adopted habits that they say may be contributing to obesity in their children later on in life. The study suggested that some parents may be feeding their babies fruit juice, or leaving them in front of the TV with a bottle propped up to his or her mouth, for example.