A Kingwood, Texas franchise location of Gold's Gym is under fire recently for posting a series of two ads that fat shame children to "stop childhood obesity" and draw in younger members, KHOU reported Monday.
One half of the ad features a heavy boy; the other half features a heavy girl.
The ad with the boy in it reads, "my fat may be funny to you but it's killing me" while the girl's ad reads "it's hard to be a little girl if you're not."
The gym immediately apologized, and sent KHOU the following statement:
We agree that fat-shaming children — or anyone — is wrong. At Gold's Gym, we strive to provide a supportive, motivating environment that helps people feel healthy and strong. Our local Houston gym owner has worked for years to help kids live active, healthier lifestyles and more than 11,000 Houston-area kids have participated in his Youth Performance Program. While we don’t condone the wording or images of his mailer, we recognize his commitment to area kids, and are working to help him frame his message in a positive way that reflects Gold’s values. We apologize to our members and everyone who was offended by this ad.
Helping kids "live active, healthier lifestyles," is all well and good, but it's been proven that fat shaming people as "motivation" is never actually motivating.
In fact, it has the opposite effect. People who become the victims of fat shaming or body shaming are more likely to avoid exercise or consume more calories in order to cope with the stress of being fat shamed or body shamed.
And in kids, who are still developing ideas of what health looks and feels like, and who are more susceptible to harmful body-image ideals, this is especially detrimental.
Thank you for your apology, Gold's Gym. Next time, think twice about the way you advertise.