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Poll: Is 'Shame' a Helpful Weight-Loss Motivator?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
A prominent bioethicist is making headlines this week with his unconventional (and, some say, mean-spirited) plan to curb obesity rates and related health-care costs. Dr. Daniel Callahan recommends taking a tactic similar to one that was employed in the fight against smoking: attaching a social stigma to it. Callanan, who at age 82 is not overweight but was a smoker, proposed in a new report that strong social pressure could be brought against those who are overweight. He says that it worked for smoking and could work for obesity, too, but his opponents are calling it "fat-shaming" and bullying.

In the abstract of his report, he poses some heavy questions: "How far can government and business go in trying to change behavior that harms health, what are the limits of market freedom for industry, and how do we look upon our bodies and judge those of others?" We'd like to know what you think. Would that work? Did you ever feel shamed because of your weight? What was your reaction?

Do you think that this is a viable option? Is Callahan's suggestion mean or "tough love"? What would you propose as an alternative?

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