Social Pressure and the Fight Against Obesity

Daniel Callahan of the Hastings Center has authored a controversial article appearing in the the January-February edition of the Hastings Center Report. The article urges several methods to combat the public health problem presented by rising obesity rates, such as increasing government regulation, business initiatives, and social pressure. This last method, increasing social pressure, is arguably the most controversial prevention method discussed in the article. Although Callahan argues that increased social pressure has been effective in the fight against smoking, numerous responses to the article find Callahan’s argument objectionable. The objections primarily focus on the impact of stigmatization and the demeaning effect on individuals struggling with being overweight or obese. The Hastings Center is inviting additional responses to the article here and more about the responses to the article can be found here. Read the actual article, Obesity: Chasing an Elusive Epidemic, here.

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