Heavy Steps in the Right Direction

Some people have criticized this Nike ad showing an obese young man named Nathan running down a country road. Watch it.

You can read all about the controversy in this article from Time magazine. Nike is definitely no Mother Teresa and has a mixed record when it comes to how they do business, e.g., exploiting child labor in Asia to assemble their shoes (they say they don't do this anymore).

However, watching this ad, it's hard to see what the brouhaha is about. Nike is smart to try to sell shoes to everyone, not just the skinny runners. This is especially true now that 1 of 3 people in many states are obese.

But beyond their mercenary motives, Nike has sent a great message. This kid isn't light on his feet, but he's on his feet, and that's the point. If he keep doing this and watching what he eats, he'll be much lighter on his feet before long. This TOJ admires him for being out there because running for him takes more guts than it does for a gifted athlete like Usain Bolt. You can see this is hard work for this runner.

It's surprising and disappointing to see the reaction from Dr. Katz at Yale. Somehow he (if the sample of his email is accurate) thinks the ad is derogatory to the kid because it shows him struggling. He'd rather see him playing a piano?

Not this TOJ. Katz is a smart guy and heads up an childhood obesity center. He, of all people, knows that running can have instant benefits to someone who is obese and probably pre-diabetic. After even ten minutes of running, Nathan's insulin response improves and his blood pressure will drop a few points. He's young and resilient, so he can handle the stress on his joints in a way that an obese guy in his 50's might not.

This kid is running for his life, and if he keeps it up, he'll win.


Anonymous said...

I have been around people who have make comments about heavy people they see running. It makes my blood boil a bit because they "don't want to see fat people" and yet they critisize when those people are trying to better themselves. . .

People are uncomfortable looking at heavy people when so many people are heavy. . . it is weird, don't you think?


Glad to see you blogging again. How is life? We miss you around here.

Anonymous said...

The heavy kid in the Nike ad is getting it done! Great ad! Although staged, the more we promote getting out and getting moving the better.

Donald "Clydesdale" Moore

Anonymous said...

Great ad! If it inspires kids to get moving then, great!