Does stigmatizing obesity lead to weight loss?
It is hard to turn on the television or pick up a newspaper without hearing reports of the “obesity epidemic.” America is fighting a “war on obesity”—or is it a war against obese people? Media campaigns targeting obesity depict fat people in dehumanizing and stigmatizing images. Fat people eating fattening foods, fat people sitting, fat people squeezed into clothes that look at least 2 sizes to small, fat people with no heads, the examples are endless. Fat people are portrayed in the media as lazy, weak-willed, self-indulgent, and a drain on the nation’s resources. During a recent health segment on The Today Show, anchor Jenna Wolfe yelled at the viewer “you put effort into your job, you put effort into raising your kids, put a little effort into your health and fitness!”
So, what is the consequence of weight stigmatizing messages? Does Jenna’s command inspire us to lose weight?