Cancer Research's New Campaign is "Fat Shaming"

The fat shaming police are at it again...

The charity Cancer Research has come under recent criticism over it's latest campaign highlighting the growing obesity epidemic in the country. Their crime? Stating that obesity has now overtaken smoking as the leading cause of bowel, kidney, ovarian and liver cancer. Billboards like the one below display the word obesity on a cigarette packet to make the point, but apparently these facts have upset some people.

My problem with this mentality is the prioritization of people's feelings over reality, because unless we face up to this issue nothing will be done about it. In truth the current obesity crisis is a symptom of the wider problem - people are making poor lifestyles choices i.e. sedentary behaviour and being greedy when it comes to food. Generally speaking people don't refrain from behaviours they enjoy unless there are severe consequences. I think most people would agree that cancer is a pretty bad outcome and so bringing it to people's attention may actually make them get off their arses and stop shoveling tonnes of s*** food into themselves on a daily basis.

What's more there is evidence that it works, take alcohol consumption for example. Over the last 15 years there have been an ever increasing number of campaigns encouraging people to drink responsibly, focusing on the negative consequences of failing to do so. Despite the apparent prevalence of binge drinking culture, a study from 2005-2015 revealed that the number of young people that chose not to drink alcohol rose from 18% to 29% during that time - a coincidence? I doubt it...

At the end of the day the prospect of a better outcome isn't enough to change people's habits - telling people how much healthier they could be, or even worse telling them they are fine the way they are when they are en route to an early grave isn't going to help them. As someone who makes a living out of motivating people to change their lives, I can tell you that we all need something bad to run away from just as much as we need something good to run towards and while sometimes the truth hurts, it's the truth after all and shielding people from it does them no good.

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