‘stating facts about obesity in order to help people make a positive life style change is NOT fat shaming’
Cancer Research, one the most influential and important leading charities for funding work into cancer preventing medicine and hopeful cures, have been accused this week of ‘fat shaming’ with their latest poster focusing on the danger of obesity.
The poster in discussion consists of a hangman style poster, with a few words missing out of the word obesity, the question placed below states; ‘Guess what is the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking?’
Firstly, there is nothing wrong at all with this poster, it is simply stating facts.
Britain is indeed in need of wake up call with obesity, 20,000 people last year needed emergency treatment in the North East due to their dangerously high weight.
In just a few years, this generation will be the heaviest since records began.
A staggering 70 percent of people born in the mid-1990s will, therefore, be overweight by the time they reach 35.
We are currently the most obese nation in the whole of Europe, with obesity increasing from 15% in 1993 to 27% in 2017.
According to Cancer Research, the heaviest are usually the oldest, but in recent years more and more young people are being exposed to the dangers of overeating and obesity.
The problem is not just amongst adults, however, it is also growing into an epidemic amongst children.
Over 1 in 5 children are obese by the time that they leave primary school, making it incredibly hard for them to lose the weight as they grow older as in many ways their eating habits are cemented when they are young.
There are 800,000 cases of cancer that are directly linked to the complications of obesity every single year.
A huge 13 different cancers are associated with being overweight including bowel, kidney, and breast.
Yet, this poster did cause offense when it was spread around the country last week, which begs the question, why?
Comedian Sofie Hagen, currently living in London, snapped the poster on a tube and put it up on Twitter, labelling the image as fat shaming in further tweets and placing under the photo; ‘How the f**king f**k is this okay?’
Right, is anyone currently working on getting this piece of shit CancerResearchUK advert removed from everywhere? Is there something I can sign? How the fucking fuck is this okay? pic.twitter.com/b7eU7lulms
— Sofie Hagen (@SofieHagen) 28 February 2018
Other people seemed to follow suit, labelling the image as dangerous, harmful and shameful to see.
Sofie Hagen, who is rather overweight herself, even labelled Cancer Research, a company who are literally working to save people’s lives every single day, as ‘filthy’ and told them ‘thanks for making the world shittier’.
Yes, you heard that right, Cancer Research, a company, I stress again, who are actually working to save people’s lives and to help people in their recovery from cancer every single day, are having accusations of hate and filthiness hurled at them.
Obesity can be extremely damaging, and whilst Cancer Research did reply to Sofie, they did insist that the poster would stay up and also gave her a few extra facts for her to have a look at; ‘Scientists have found that extra body fat can cause higher levels of growth hormones, sex hormones, and inflammation in the body. These can lead to cells dividing more, increasing the chance of cancer.’
Obesity kills thousands upon thousands of people each year which does seem to beg the question; are we living in a world where people are far too easily offended and far too ready to simply avoid, ignore and even get furious about facts?
Sofie Hagen has been calling for the poster to be completely removed from our streets whilst also arguing that such content should not be available to the public, she also gave a link for Macmillan Cancer Charity, stressing that they have never ‘fat shamed’.
Despite the anger, there were plenty of people who stood behind cancer research and defended the poster, maybe they had experienced cancer in their family, themselves or amongst their friends, and did not appreciate the idea of the charity being abused over twitter.
Many people also stressed that Cancer Research was not trying to make anyone feel bad, but to spread the message that obesity and cancer are linked, maybe, there will be people that see the poster and work to make a positive lifestyle change for themselves and their loved ones.
Awareness is certainly needed after Cancer Research found that only 15% of the UK population knew that there is a direct link between being clinically overweight and falling ill to cancer and other related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, gout and heart conditions.
Cancer Research aren’t the only ones who have been accused of fat shaming by simply stating facts, Lush, cosmetics and natural bath company, were accused of ‘fat shaming’ last year, when their campaign ‘What the Health’, a movement to encourage healthy eating and overall good mental health and happiness, stated a few obesity facts and put them up on Instagram.
Writer, Amy Jones, wrote into Lush expressing anger and insult taken by the campaign; ‘‘Fat people are going to die and it’s their own lazy fault’. Wonderful. Cheers, Lush” wrote Jones. “We don’t need a company which proudly declares in their Twitter header that ‘All are welcome. Always’ to qualify that with a ‘But if you are fat, we are going to make you feel bad about it.’
Once again, it seems the issue has been missed, Lush promoted all areas of an unhealthy lifestyle, linked it to disease and then gave positive actions to work against it.
The film focused on ‘chronic diseases’ such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease, before looking into the reasons behind them such a smoking, alcohol and obesity.
The facts stated, such as ’70 percent of deaths and morbidity are largely lifestyle related and preventable’, are completely true and do ring home to the vast majority of hospitalisations up and down the country for people with weight-related ailments.
The government have even been advised to cut the fat in take away food by 20%, there are debates as to whether fast food adverts should be shown before nine and there are even new meal plans being issued by the government in order to help Britain get healthy again.
Campaigns like this are not meant to scare or upset anybody, they are simply designed to make people aware and to give them a good space and the correct resources to work towards whatever they want to achieve, whether it’s quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, and yes, I’m going to say it, working to get down (or up) to a healthy and happy weight.
You can check out Cancer Research here, they are a vital company and have information from spotting the signs of cancer through to positive lifestyle changes you can make to maintain health.
You can also go to Macmillan Cancer Support.
You can watch the trailer here for ‘What the Health’, it’s ten pounds to actually buy but it is a fascinating insight into the large-scale corporations that push harmful products such as fast food, alcohol, and cigarettes onto society.