Budget Cut for Program Targeting Obesity

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WASHINGTON ( -- The Centers for Disease Control today tapped Frankel, Chicago, to be the lead agency on a $75 million campaign to educate children about health.

Last year, Congress had originally awarded the CDC $125 million for the effort, but now part of the money will be used for other programs.

The money for what was originally supposed to be a five-year program was added to the CDC's budget last year by U.S. Rep. John Porter, R-Ill., who was worried about increase obesity in children. But his subsequent retirement left the program without a congressional champion, and earlier this year new Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said he had other priorities and no intention of continuing the program.

Frankel heads a team that includes fellow Publicis Groupe siblings Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, and Publicis Dialog.

Mike Greenwell, communications director for CDC's chronic disease center, said Frankel, a promotions agency, was selected as lead the account instead of an ad shop because the CDC expects to extensively use promotion and some kind of a tour as a major part of the effort.

Mr. Greenwell said the CDC program will target 9- to 13-year-olds with messages urging exercise and physical activity.

The program will devote $95 million to advertising, public relations and promotion. Aside from the $75 million to Frankel and its partners, the CDC awarded $10 million each to A Partnership Inc., New York, and to Garcia LKS 360, San Antonio, which has assembled a team of shops to handle efforts aimed at Hispanic and Asian tweens.

The rest of the $30 million will go to fund various activities and research.

Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Seattle, had also been in the review.