Childhood Obesity, Celebrities, and Eating Disorders (Part 2)

Beyonce, 2009

Yesterday, Childhood Obesity News began tracing the history of the singer Beyoncé as it relates to the issue of childhood obesity. Beyoncé, whose weight seems to fluctuate as much as that of her fellow celebrity Oprah Winfrey, was recruited by First Lady Michelle Obama to help publicize the “Let’s Move!” campaign. The photo on this page is from 2009, which was before Beyoncé’s participation via her “Move Your Body” video.

We also referred to ABC News, which mentioned that some doctors are pessimistic about how effective it is for middle school children to exercise to the video. Some even believe that the childhood obesity epidemic is a more challenging problem than teenage pregnancy or cigarette smoking. An associate clinical professor of medicine, Keith Ayoob, told the reporter something similar to what Dr. Pretlow has said many times, that a vicious cycle can be created.

Ayoob is quoted as saying:

Kids get teased mercilessly about their weight… That just makes them want to be active even less than they already are. These kids can often become depressed, suffer from low self esteem and just dislike who they are because of their weight… It’s a vicious cycle.

So, back to Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has taken an interest in her commercial endorsement activities, and asked her to un-sign a $50-million deal with PepsiCo, the makers of sugar-sweetened beverages sold all over the world, and responsible for who knows how much obesity and diabetes. Beyoncé agreed to advertise their products for another 10 years, including during the halftime show for next year’s SuperBowl. Executive director Michael F. Jacobson wrote the singing star a letter saying:

You occupy a unique position in the cultural life of this country and are an inspiring role model for millions of young people. By lending your name and image to PepsiCo, you are associating your positive attributes with a product that is quite literally sickening Americans.

This is the same group, Bloomberg journalist Duane D. Stanford reminds us, whose 1998 report titled “Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks Are Harming America’s Health” helped to influence legislation in some places. They are even trying to shame the musical performer by bringing in race. Stanford explains:

Obesity-related health problems have a disproportionate impact on low-income, African-American and Hispanic communities, Jacobson said, asking Beyonce to reconsider the Pepsi-Cola deal or donate the proceeds to health causes.

For a website called Bossip, a columnist known as “shessowrite” (Get it? “She’s so right,” but punning on “write”) contributed some snarky attitude to the debate:

An anti-soda activist group has publicly requested that Bey Bey ditch her Pepsi endorsement, suggesting that having her as the face of the brand while being considered a ‘role model’ for young people encourages childhood obesity. Hmmmm. Well, we doubt the money-hungry Carters will miss out on $50 mil. But on the other hand, Bey Bey is also pretty active in First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Move Your Body’ campaign, which was a established to work towards eliminating childhood obesity… [A]nd we all know how much Bey looovves her some Obama family.

How about it, readers? Should Beyoncé back out of the deal?

Source: “Beyonce Joins Michelle Obama’s Initiative To Fight Childhood Obesity,” ABC News, 04/29/11
Source: “PepsiCo Pop Star Beyonce Asked to Ditch Marketing Deal,” Bloomberg, 12/18/12
Source: “Anti-Soda Group Says Beyonce’s Pepsi Endorsement Encourages Childhood Obesity,” Bossip, 12/19/12
Image by oouinouin.

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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