Food shaming is not okay
Yesterday I came across a bunch of articles written by various media outlets shaming people for having bought and possibly consumed Easter eggs before Easter...WTF?! It turns out that this originated from a statement but the Royal Society of Public Health claiming that Easter eggs were fuelling the ‘obesity epidemic’ based on a poll they did of parents. Where do I even start? First of all a poll is NOT evidence. A poll could be a tiny number of people, they aren’t necessarily representative of the total population and therefore you shouldn’t be drawing firm conclusions, let alone making public statements on the basis of a few people’s opinions. Where is the science showing that Easter egg consumption is linked with obesity? Oh right, there is zero because that evidence does not exist! Secondly, levels of so-called obesity have actually remained relatively stable over the past decade or so and average sugar consumption has decreased. Pointing the finger at Easter eggs being problematic is thus completely non-sensical. In light of the increasing evidence of weight stigma, including a study published this week that said people considered to be obese are dehumanised, thinking more carefully about societal messaging around food and weight should be top of the agenda for a public health body. Thirdly, there is nothing wrong with having treats. Food is not just fuel, it is to be enjoyed. Easter eggs are not an everyday thing, let people have their Easter eggs in peace. Nobody gains weight from one Easter egg (and the link between health and weight is tenuous at best). People already have enough of their own guilt, anxiety and judgement around food to deal with, it is not okay to compound that by shaming people for their choices. Wellbeing matters. Health is not just physical.