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Saying obesity is a cause of cancer is not fat shaming


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You may have seen Cancer Research UK's new adverts. They say obesity is a cause of cancer and is the second leading cause of preventable cancer behind tobacco. There doesn't appear to be much else to see except for a charity starting a campaign that can raise awareness and save lives.

Comedienne Sofie Hagen did not see it like this, she saw it as fat shaming, and said as much in a series of tweets, one of which is embedded below.

This has caused a debate online on whether the campaign does indeed amount to fat shaming. And quite simply, to attack this campaign is both misguided and reckless.

There is a clear link between obesity and cancer. Scientists believe that that the inflammation of fat around vital organs can cause some of these cancers. The International Agency for Research on Cancer linked obesity to 13 different types of cancer. This includes pancreatic and colonic cancer, two of the most deadly kinds of the disease.

Last year, it was reported that 40% of cancers in the United States are linked to excess weight. 

In addition, obesity and excess weight can also lead to hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, coronary and artery issues, respiratory issues, fertility problems, osteoarthritis and liver/gallbladder problems. 

This is not fat shaming. This is stating facts, being overweight is unhealthy and years of medical research overwhelmingly backs that up. 

Cancer Research UK believe too little of the population is aware of the risks. This campaign is aimed to help inform people and encourage them to lose weight, which could save their life.

To criticise this message and say it is someway wrong in the way Hagen has is very reckless.

Obesity is a cause of cancer and other health issues, there really isn't any nicer way of saying that. And people need to know and deserve to know about the health risks that they are posed to them.

Criticising messages like this is reckless, as is wanting the advert to be removed. It prevents the message from getting out and it prevents people from being giving the message they need to lose weight when even the smallest amount of which has huge benefits

And then it will also lower the risk of developing a serious condition.

At the end of the day, having excess weight is unhealthy. I agree with the sentiment that people should not be bullied over it, because, bullying is horrible, but you cannot deny it is not unhealthy.

Everyone should be encouraged to reach a healthy weight. Not too much and not too little either, as that can be just as devastating. But by saying pointing out the links between obesity and serious illness is wrong and even in the cases of some, saying that it is ok to be fat.

It gives the wrong message and further encourages people to do nothing about their weight and put themselves at risk. 

Fat shaming is a real problem in certain sections of our society, but this advert did not exhibit any of that. All it was was an attempt to help people and encourage them to make decisions that could improve their lives. To hijack it to make a point about fat shaming is very reckless. 

You cannot escape the fact that excess weight causes health problems, but you can escape from excess weight. 

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