Cancer Research accused of 'fat-shaming' over obesity campaign

James M Warren/Silverhub/REX/Shutterstock/Twitter

A comedian has accused Cancer Research of 'fat shaming' in a series of angry tweets, hitting out at the charity over its new ‘obesity is the biggest cause of cancer after smoking’ campaign.

Danish-born and UK-based award-winning comedian, Sofie Hagen, 29, strongly condemned the campaign stating that it is “incredibly damaging” and that “society viewing fatness as a negative thing is a thing that kills more than the cancer".

Sofie also shared a poster on Wednesday on her Twitter page that spelled out “OBESITY” with some missing letters and asks readers to guess what the second biggest cause of smoking is.

Another campaign ad has chips in a cigarette packet, with the charity also calling for a ban on junk food advertising and urging people to eat healthier balanced diets.

Sofie, along with other campaigners, are hoping it gets taken down.

The charity defended itself directly in Sofie’s Twitter feed saying the campaign was based on science.

It said it “isn’t meant to make anyone feel bad about their weight” and that it aims to raise awareness of how being overweight can cause cancer.

The charity added:

As after smoking, obesity is the second biggest cause. It our duty to inform people about this and lobby the government on policies which will help us all to keep a healthy weight.

This comes less than a week after Cancer Research UK released a study that found UK millennials are on track to be the most overweight generation since records began.

The analysis showed that more than seven in every ten people born between the early 1980’s and mid-1990’s will be overweight by the time they reach middle age, and that being fat as an adult is linked to 13 types of cancer.

In a statement, the charity's professor Linda Bauld said millennials needed to improve their eating habits and eat more vegetables, fruit and fibre.

And Alison Cox, the charity's director of prevention said:

Being overweight is the UK’s biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking, but most people don’t know about this substantial risk.

If more people become aware of the link it may help spare not just millennials, but all generations from cancer.

Britain is also the most obese nation in Western Europe. According to figures, 27 per cent of people in Britain were obese in 2015.

Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK's prevention expert - told indy100:

The aim of the charity’s campaign is to raise awareness of the fact that obesity is the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking.

This is not about fat shaming. 

It is based on scientific evidence and designed to give important information to the public. 

Only 15% of people are aware that obesity is a cause of cancer. Cancer Research UK has a duty to put that message in the public domain.

In addition to raising awareness, the campaign aims to help stem the rising tide of obesity by urging the government to create a climate that makes healthier food choices easier for everyone.

indy100 contacted Sofie for comment but she had not responded at the time of publication.


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