The poster aims to warn people that obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer, with only smoking being a higher risk factor. It is currently being displayed on billboards across the country.
The charity says only 15% of people know about the direct link between weight and cancer so it is important to make them aware. Not everyone has taken kindly to the message, however, complaining that it is insensitive.
Body positive campaigner Sophie Hagen tweeted: ‘Right, is anyone currently working on getting this piece of sh*t CancerResearchUK advert removed from everywhere? Is there something I can sign? How the f*cking f*ck is this okay?’
I have to pass it three times on my journey to and from work and one of them is a house-sized billboard. I'm stopping ANY support of @CRUK_Policy until they quit shaming me.
— Beyond Chocolate (@beyondchoc) February 28, 2018
‘What your campaign is doing is so incredibly damaging. There is no excuse for you to have this campaign up. ‘Society viewing fatness as a negative thing is a thing that kills more than the cancer that you MIGHT get due to MAYBE something to do with you POSSIBLY weighing MORE than a CERTAIN weight POSSIBLY MAYBE.’ ‘Your campaign is so damaging and fatshaming and I really hope it gets taken down.’ She disputed the science behind the claim, saying that BMI (which is how obesity is measured) was not a reliable figure and that dieting was ‘one of the worst things you can do to your body.’
(1/2) Hi Sofie, our campaign isn’t meant to make anyone feel bad about their weight or make anyone think negatively about people who are overweight or obese. Our aim is to raise awareness of the link between cancer and obesity…
— Cancer Research UK (@CR_UK) February 28, 2018
People piled in on both sides of the debate, with others saying the advert had made them feel uncomfortable and that they didn’t think it would encourage the people it was aimed at to lose weight. They said it would increase stigma for fat people and make some feel it was legitimate to criticise others for their weight. However, Cancer Research UK defended the poster, saying it was needed because only a minority are even aware that being overweight causes cancer. Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, said: ‘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.