According to this feature in The Times, the British government have sunk £275million into an advertising campaign to help people become more grossed out by the idea of fat.
You'd hardly think that this would be something that needed funding, many people already seem pretty revolted by fat bodies judging by the amount of hostile stares, tutting and general opprobrium directed at fat people every day, not to mention our own, learned, self-destructive internalised hatred developed through these experiences. But now the government have managed to spell out exactly how disgusting they think we are, and the results are going to be plastered on billboards, in leaflets and on the TV in your living room. Joy.
Change4Life is modelled on anti-smoking and safe driving campaigns, which regularly use shock based on repellant imagery for effect. I think that shame, disgust and stigma are questionable bases for public health programmes and I suspect that this campaign is likely to do little more than add to the daily burden of fatphobia that so many of us negotiate.
I also wonder if Change4Life (ugh, was there ever an uglier name?) is a government response to the threat of self-acceptance promoted by fat activists and health promotion professionals who are sick of working under a model of obesity treatment and prevention that is ineffective and health-depleting. Perhaps they see self-acceptance as a threat. It's a shame that they're not committed to investing in that as an evidence-based obesity intervention. Meanwhile, it seems to me that the government is committed to chucking good money after bad, by funding one useless and massively expensive obesity initiative after another. Lucky for Saatchi!