The Problem of Child Obesity Abuse

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A rhetorical analysis on child obesity abuse, over Childhood Obesity: Is it Abuse? By Abigail Darwin is an informative article on Childhood Obesity being inhibited, she describes to us what our country as a whole is doing to fight against obesity in children. She also debates if parents of morbidly obese children should be accused of child abuse. In the United States there seems to be a state of crisis, where nearly one-third of the population is obese. A rhetorical and visual analysis is also to be covered over an advertisement by the Children’s Health Care of Atlanta. The advertisement informs the viewers how harmful it may be to deride an obese child. Both creators of the article and advertisement apply ethos, pathos and logos, these rhetorical strategies are used to dispute the affect of Childhood Obesity.

Ethos is formulated in the opening of the article, by providing examples of several states that have experienced the same issue. Collectively, they provide reasons and solutions to what should be the penalty for parents that encourage or induce obesity in their children, due to neglect. Abigail Darwin is a former operator in the CWLA Government Affairs; she suggests certain amendments to approach the issue of neglect in obese children. According to Darwin (2008), “state courts have struggled with in cases involving dangerously obese children is determining the proper mode of state intervention to help these children and their families prior to and after adjudication” (p.1) Where she gains trust from the reader, is when she explains that there are many states making changes towards the fight against childhood obesity and nurturing thousands of families around the country. Darwin’s tone is very didactic which is suitable for the audience given the controversial issue she is arguing. The article is written in a very polished and professional manner in which she gives examples of many court cases around the country, and demonstrates what the government’s strengths are, which will lead to improvement of the conditions that the families and victims of childhood obesity face. Darwin’s lack of in-text sources is a major fault in her argument, because she doesn’t provide much cited evidence to support her claims. However, she does demonstrate multiple points of view, from the following: the judicial courts, state representatives and the state legislatures, the parents of these affected children and finally the children themselves. The writer presents a balanced argument throughout the entire article because Darwin is not for parents being convicted of child abuse as a result of neglect, nor is she against it.

Pathos is the most influential rhetorical strategy in the entire article. The author mostly attempts to appeal to the reader’s emotions. Darwin (2008) provides recently court cases as a certain cause for concern:

In 2002, involved a 16-year-old boy named D.K who was just over five feet tall but weighed in excess of 451 pounds; and the Texas case, decided in 2002, involved a 4-year-old boy named G.C. who weighed more than 136 pounds. All these courts, except the California court, adjudicated the children to be neglected and reached this conclusion by expanding their states' statutory definition of medical neglect to encompass morbid obesity. In the California case, the child died before the case was heard. The court did, however, ultimately charge her mother with misdemeanor child abuse through inaction.

This article delivers a good eye-opening experience to the audience about the issue, more precisely; on how there is an immense amount of children faced with harsh living conditions caused by obesity. The writer of this article knows that the cases provided are appealing to the reader’s emotions because they help gain sympathy for the victims of childhood obesity. These emotions make the reader think about how these children are the result of parent neglect. In reading this article it makes the reader wonder if parents should actually be accused of child abuse due to their child’s excess weight because above all else, the child is the parents’ responsibility. Abigail Darwin suggestions are simple, she is not overly-aggressive in convincing the reader; she basically explains the causes and situations of obesity, although she does make it clear to the reader where the responsibility falls to; the parents. Pathos is a very effective strategy used to further involve the reader; it captures the reader’s attention through emotion which conveys the purpose of the argument.

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The cause and effect of obesity stated in the test make effective logical appeal, because they invite the reader to absorb the facts and interpret them for themselves. The writer uses logos that rely on evidence or proof, whether it is data of careful reasoning. Darwin uses evidence to persuade the audience she is using logos and morals to provide a concise solution to this dilemma. The writer’s article is adequately explained because it provides recent court cases encountered throughout the country. She also provides information on how the country nurtures with family counseling, health education, income supports and future planning. Darwin’s bias in the article is that excessive overweight that leads to diseases and severe conditions in children should be studied if caused genetic or by parent’s neglect, before the parent’s are accused of child abuse. She did provide quantity of supporting evidence on her argument by providing several recent cases on childhood obese victims. Since Darwin is writing to solve a problem, historical information is being used, for instance how other states have dealt with issues on childhood obesity and having parents convicted of child abuse. Logical fallacies are not identified. Therefore, her argument does remain valid during the entire article.

Overall, Darwin’s weakness was on ethos because she did not provide any sources for her evidence. In conclusion, she did provide rhetorical strategies like pathos and logos overwhelmingly. This article is beneficial for one who is interested in a change of the population of obesity. Not only does it state consequences throughout the country, but demonstrates the cooperation being established to enhance a better life to those victims affected by childhood obesity.

Several techniques are used on advertisements in order to convince the audience of the argument they are presenting. Children’s Health Care of Atlanta presents an advertisement of childhood obesity. Advertisements are usually used to present an event or publicize a message. This particular advertisement has pathos and ethos imbedded into its visual appeal. In the argument logos is also used throughout the text. It is important that the reader considers the point of view since the advertisement was created by a program dealt with Children’s Health Care and is funded by citizens of Atlanta.

Attempting to persuade or convince someone of an argument, pathos technique is possibly the most influential. The advertisement of Children’s Health Care of Atlanta has a very strong appeal to pathos. By establishing a very deliberate image the advertisement devotes a very strong sense of cognizance. The image shows a person, who understood to be a victim of childhood obesity, with a warning announcing “My fat may be funny to you but it’s killing me.” The creator of the advertisement, The Children’s Health Care of Atlanta, is attempting to get sympathy from the viewers of the advertisement and have the audience realize how deriding may be very harmful to someone’s feelings. Pathos is not only appealing through imagery but also through the text shown on the image. As a viewer you are drawn to the text, after observing the deliberate image and want to understand exactly what the image is about. By stating the text provided, the creator intends to make the reader feel condolence if ever guilty of deriding an obese child.

Ethos in the argument is mostly imbedded in the image that the ad is centered around. As stated in the previous paragraph, the image of an obese child is shown to be offended and disconsolate. The Children’s Health Care of Atlanta is showing the viewers how the people guilty of deriding someone for being excessively over weight can harm their feelings. This is where the ethical part of the argument is being introduced. By displaying this image with the obese child and the text provided, the CHC is trying to show the viewer how unethical it is to consider funny for someone who suffers from obesity, while they are being killed inside due to the severe conditions being affected by the excessive weight. The advertisement is also intended to appeal to victims of obesity. The government agency wants obese children themselves to realize how crucial it is to maintain a healthy life, and how dreadful it can be to experience not only poor physical conditions but emotional feelings as well, because of their excess weight. The Children’s Health Care wants everyone who views this advertisement to be aware that when someone considers a child’s excess weight funny, that child’s life is at risk.

Logos is also a rhetorical strategy to be considered when an advertisement is produced by a government agency. The CHC is a publicly funded health care system provided in Atlanta. By publicly funding, the citizens of Atlanta pay their taxes to the government which then gives a percentage over to the Children’s Health Care. Since obesity has a high risk of leading to diabetes, liver disease, hernia, cancer, high blood pressure and other illnesses, the more obese children there are the more money the CHC can expect to provide nurture for these patients. This is most likely the reason to why this advertisement was produced. The more people that Children’s Health

Care can prevent from being morbidly obese, the more benefit they can give other patients or even have more money for the agency itself as profit. The creator of the advertisement can further reveal its argument and hopefully persuade the viewers to agree with the argument. The Children’s Health Care ad attempts to persuade the viewers through pathos, ethos and logos, but in general be looked at through the point of view of the creator, Children’s Health Care.

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