When Cancer Research … revealed that millennials are set to become the most overweight generation since records began, there was a key message – after smoking, obesity is the second biggest cause of cancer. It called for a ban on junk food advertising and urged people to eat healthier, more balanced diets. But not everyone appreciated the tone of the message.
The award-winning Danish comedian Sofie Hagen, who lives in London and has written for the BBC about her social anxiety, took to Twitter to criticise the campaign, which she said was “incredibly damaging”.
So is it wrong to be blunt about the dangers of being overweight?
While the health risks of obesity – such as increased risk of cancer and other diseases – are rarely disputed among most doctors, some experts and campaigners think the way weight is talked about should change.
Dr Stuart Flint, a senior research fellow in public health and obesity at Leeds Beckett University, said overweight people were routinely discriminated against and stigmatised – or “fat shamed” – in the media, school, the workplace and even by health professionals.
Prof Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, added: “This is not about fat-shaming. It is based on scientific evidence and designed to give important information to the public.”
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