First, there’s overwhelming evidence that fat children are already perfectly and painfully aware of this fact (Ironically, the Strong4Life’s ads are themselves based on the premise that fat kids should stop being fat, in part, because fat kids are treated badly for being fat. Again, it’s unclear just why the people behind this campaign think fat children are in need of this particular piece of information, given that it’s already transmitted to them countless times every day).

Second, how exactly is telling fat kids they’re fat going to help make them thin? The official theory of our federal public health agencies is that “more physical activity, breastfeeding, consuming fresh foods, limiting television viewing and decreasing consumption of sugar beverages are all actions that could potentially turn the tide on childhood obesity.” Apparently, this is the “scientific” answer that the shame-stricken mother should have told her little boy when he asked her “why am I fat?”

Now, the great thing about science is that scientific theories can be tested—and this one has been, extensively, repeatedly, and at considerable expense. Just last month, a meta-analysis of no fewer than 55 intervention studies, most of which were based on precisely this theory, was published in the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews. The study found that the average weight loss in the nearly 30,000 children who participated in these studies was . . . one pound.