Did fat shaming just become acceptable? I was a little bit taken aback by the latest advertising campaign from Cancer Research UK which I discovered on my way to somewhere else. I didn’t really understand what the message is… apart from obesity causes cancer… it can’t be “if you are obese and you get cancer it’s your fault” can it? Really?
But whatever the message is, CR UK seemed determined that we wouldn’t miss the posters…
And on both sides of the subway. No one seemed very interested though, apart from me.
Clearly if you thought you might be obese, you had the potential to be quite shocked at the thought you also had a high risk of cancer. But the message came without any suggestions about what you should do about it if you are at risk, no suggestions about where to go for help, not even any indication about what obesity is and whether the person looking at the advert should consider themselves obese.
All in all, and whilst I agree that people do not understand the risks of being obese, this is a pretty unhelpful approach in my view. People need help, not shaming, Cancer Research UK.
Another way of viewing this, as I did, is to see it as an awareness raising campaign. Trying to avoid assumptions and assertions, CRUK helps countless numbers of people every year through its research and other services it offers. Being overweight or obese is the second biggest preventible cause of cancer, after smoking yet very few people are aware of this. Hopefully, through campaigns such as this, more people will become aware of it. More than 1 in 20 cancers in the UK are directly linked to being overweight or obese and being overweight can cause 13 types of cancer. More information here, if you’re interested:http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/bodyweight-and-cancer/how-being-overweight-causes-cancer
Such campaigns will lead to greater awareness and hopefully prompt people to make lifestyle choices that will mean they won’t need the services of CRUK. congratulations to CRUK for running such campaigns and helping to prevent cancer in the first place.