Earlier this week, UK journalist Michael Buerk used his viewpoint column in Radio Times to send a startling and disgraceful message about people with obesity. He said that greed is to blame and those with obesity are “weak, not ill.” He also suggested that people with obesity should be allowed to “die early” to save the National Health Service (NHS) money. CLICK HERE to learn more.
To say that Mr. Buerk’s comments are wrong is an understatement. They fuel the stigma surrounding obesity that is already far too common and dangerous. They represent weight discrimination. Fortunately, advocates in the UK and around the world are setting the record straight.
The RIGHT Response: Sarah LeBrocq, Obesity UK
The OAC is pleased to have seen one of our global partners, Obesity UK, stand-up against this important issue. Obesity UK’s Director, Sarah LeBrocq, boldly addressed the public in an interview and called out these stigmatizing comments. In her response, she stressed that obesity is not just about food. Biology and genetics play a role, as do mental health and the environment. Not one factor causes obesity. We have to look at the total picture. We have to stop blaming individuals.
To read the written statement from Obesity UK, CLICK HERE.
Education is Important.
Viewpoints like the one of Mr. Buerk’s are not one-off. They’re everywhere. They shine light on the need for greater obesity education worldwide.
The OAC believes that obesity is a chronic and complex disease that requires:
- Serious action
- Access to science-based treatment
- Comprehensive obesity care
Obesity is not a matter of a personal choice. While there is an element of personal responsibility involved, there are many factors that affect obesity and are not in control of the individual. Greed is not to blame for struggling with weight, despite what Mr. Buerk states.
OAC Action: Be a Part of Changing the Narrative around Obesity
This is where you can help the OAC, as well as our global partners, put an end to weight bias. Here are some easy actions you can take:
- Share the OAC’s educational resources online and in your local communities
- Share the OAC’s resources about weight stigma (Guidelines for Media Portrayals of Individuals Affected by Obesity; Guide to Weight Bias in the Workplace; Guide to Weight Bias in Healthcare; OAC Image Gallery; Understanding Obesity Stigma Brochure)
- Educate everyone you can about obesity and weight stigma
- Visit the OAC Action Center regularly
To learn more about Taking Action with the OAC, CLICK HERE.