"It's easy to tell people to eat right, exercise and get outside instead of sitting in front of a TV or computer screen," wrote Obama in a press release on the new program. "But what will really drive the point home is an image of an actual overweight child whose life is bound to be hampered by poor health and social isolation, especially after his or her picture runs in every magazine and newspaper in America.
"Also on billboards," she added.The pictures, to be snapped surreptitiously by prominent obesity photographer Lucas Earls, will feature children between the ages of approximately 7 and 13 who clearly meet the national standards for obesity.
"If they happen to be holding a corn dog at the time, all the better," said Earls, who plans to scour the entire country for subjects, but mostly Alabama.
Anticipating criticism about using photos of children, Sally Caruthers, spokeswoman for the First Lady's "Let's Move" program, noted that the organization would be obtaining written consent from the parents of each subject. Also, the photos will be taken from angles that accentuate the children's prodigious girth, not their facial features, she said.
"It's very likely that only their family and friends will be able to identify them," noted Caruthers.
The first subject, Olivia Funderburk, is an 8-year-old from Jacksons' Gap, Ala., approximately 3-foot-11-inches tall and 112 pounds. In ads set to debut nationally tomorrow, she's pictured at the Tallapoosa County Flea Market with a giant piece of fried dough hanging out of her mouth.
Under her image is the message, "Don't let your child end up like Olivia. At least not if you want grandchildren someday."
"I came up with that last part myself," noted Earls.
Asked by CAP News why they agreed to allow their daughter's image to be used in the program, Olivia's mother, Jessica Funderbunk, 27, noted, "Because she'll be on TV, duh!"
The Funderbunks have apparently already lined up several local endorsement deals based on Olivia's newfound fame, including from the flea market where she was photographed, a car dealership and a fried dough manufacturer.