The obesity society salutes Nike’s “find your greatness” campaign

The obesity society salutes Nike's "find your greatness" campaign

Silver Spring, MD – With the entire globe focused on the Olympics, The Obesity Society (TOS) congratulates Nike for their "Find Your Greatness" campaign. The videos show compellingly that sport is an activity for every person, and individual athletic achievement is within the reach of everyone, whatever their starting point.  The campaign demonstrates that whoever we are, when we push ourselves to do the very best that we can, we achieve our own greatness.

Perhaps the most profound of the "Greatness" videos shows "Nathan", a 12-year-old obese boy jogging the distance of a lonely country road. As he runs on at a steady pace, the narrator says, "Somehow we've come to believe that greatness is a gift reserved for a chosen few, for prodigies, for superstars, and the rest of us can only stand by watching. You can forget that… We're all capable of it. All of us."

With two-thirds of Americans overweight or obese, vast numbers of children and adults suffer weight-based stigma and discrimination in all areas, including sports. Stereotypes incorrectly portray overweight people as inactive couch potatoes who routinely overeat junk food.  In reality, the thousands of overweight people in the National Weight Control Registry who have successfully lost substantial amounts of weight and kept it off for years engage in very high amounts of physical activity- the average being 45-60 minutes a day, every day. But many obese children and adults are subjected to cruel and pejorative comments when they engage in exercise or sports.


"Often the very people who criticize them as lazy are the first to insult them or make fun of them when they do exercise. Fear of humiliation can be a bigger barrier to exercise than physical discomfort. Hopefully the Nike video of the young jogger will encourage viewers to challenge their stereotypes and to empathize with, and honor, exercisers of all sizes," said Patrick M. O'Neil, PhD, TOS President.

TOS salutes Nike for deliberately, and with simplicity and grace, taking on the issue of obesity stigma and bias.  Says Jennifer Lovejoy, PhD, Past President of TOS, "Kudos to Nike for challenging the stereotype that all kids who are overweight are inactive.  And kudos to every overweight person who looks inside themself, sees their personal greatness, and decides to defy the stereotypes one more day."

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