The carrot approach to losing weight - as if there's any other kind - could use a bit of stick to go with it, says one controversial researcher.
Bioethicist Daniel Callahan is calling for more "fat-shaming," reports
NBC. Stigmatizing the overweight, he claims, may be the only remaining way to curb the nation's obesity epidemic. After all, it worked with nicotine, Callahan says.
"The force of being shamed was as persuasive for me to stop smoking as the threats to my health," said the scholar, who's based in New York's Hastings Center. "The campaign to stigmatize smoking was a success, turning what had been considered simply a bad habit into reprehensible behavior."
That's an analogy not sitting well with other health experts.
"Deciding whether to smoke or not is a behavior," said Deb Burgard, a California psychologist who specializes in eating disorders. "The weight your body is is not a behavior."
But the effort to bring stigma into the broader anti-obesity campaign may have its uses yet, claims one expert in childhood obesity, who thinks "edgier" tactics have their place too:
"If we could make an impact with an edgier approach with young parents who for convenience sake, or out of ignorance, make very bad dietary and lifestyle choices for their unwitting toddler, that might be something worthwhile."