Shaming the overweight

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Our governments, health professionals, and now personal trainers-cum-TV-celebrities have joined in the fun of detailing the personal failings of fat people.

And where has this united effort of moralising and scorn got us? Well let’s just say that the United Nations has declared obesity to be epidemic and our politicians are bandying around phrases like ‘the war on obesity’.

The latest entrant in the fat shaming contest is the West Australian government’s health promotion body WA Health with its recently-launched LiveLighter anti-obesity campaign.

Piggybacking off the success of the graphic drink driving and anti-smoking campaigns, the LiveLighter campaign features graphic images of fat, labeling it toxic and portraying it as disgusting.

One poster features a man grabbing his gut alongside organs covered with fat emblazoned with the alarming message ‘GRABBABLE GUT OUTSIDE MEANS TOXIC FAT INSIDE’.

The campaign booklet notes ‘At times, it’s graphic and confronting, but it has to be. We need everyone to realise that achieving and maintaining a healthy weight should be a priority right now — and not something that can be put off “until tomorrow”.’

While urgency is all well and good, WA Health, along with their campaign partners The Heart Foundation and The Cancer Council might have taken the time to look at some evidence. If they did, they’d have realised that these kinds of shock campaigns, which have been running all over the developed world for decades, have not led to long-term weight loss. In fact, as we are repeatedly told: we’re getting fatter.

Read more on Daily Life

One thought on “Shaming the overweight

  1. There is no getting around the essential cruelty of the anti-obesity movement. I’m thin (I am past 60 and male) and could no more have become fat than I could have grown two inches taller after I had reached my adult height. But some people are fat. They can become thin, but only at the cost of constant self-denial that ruins their happiness. Leave them alone.

    Also, this whole anti-obesity thing is really about aesthetics, and not health. We’re not worried about Kirstie Alley’s health. We’re angry at her for being erotically beautiful and then getting too ugly for us to want to kiss her. Can’t we admit even that, for a start?

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