Obesity / Sofie Hagen / Cancer Research UK

True, but there is plenty of evidence linking to causation as summarised in the link I posted

I think the issues around this as I see them are first quotes like this from CRUK:

What is my risk of developing cancer if I’m overweight or obese?

The risk is greater the more weight you gain and the longer you are overweight for.

The risk is ‘greater’. How much greater? And if we go back to their point that after smoking, obesity is the biggest cause, how big is that? I mean if we look here:

According to research from the American Cancer Society, excess body weight is thought to be responsible for about 8% of all cancers in the United States

Now 8% isn’t insignificant but Googling gave me:

Forty percent of cancers diagnosed in the U.S. may have a link to tobacco use

I mean if that’s true then it implies that if it’s 2nd then it’s a pretty big step down. Which means this sort of campaign is maybe a worry. The link is there and obviously it’s motivated by wanting fewer people to die from cancer but fundamentally people don’t really think that way, we tend to be risk takers and we tend to do a lot of stuff that has a chance of negatively impacting our lives at the best of times.

On top of that, I often wonder how much dieting and societal pressure is put into these equations when we look at weight as a cause of something? If you are overweight there’s a good chance you’ve spent a lot of time trying to slim which is surely going to put stress on your body. And as @dingaling says, you are CONSTANTLY being judged. This isn’t a good mental state to be in either and is bound to impact your health. Basically I worry we don’t have what could be seen as a good ‘control’ for all these studies.

Some years back my mate workd for CRUK and they had run a campaign not like this but which was quite stark in its “YOU MAY DIE OF CANCER” message (or something) and they found it failed. And pretty quickly they changed to a campaign about people surviving cancer and what CRUK was doing to increase that chance and this was a much better campaign for them because it was positive stories about how your contributions can help.

IMO this is back to that sort of negative campaigning and it won’t improve much at all in the long run. Stick to researching how to cure and treat it and stick to helping those who have cancer.


I would absolutely agree that this is an incredibly negative way to be campaigning if you want people to positively interact with the message.

8% is a pretty significant number of people, I think comparing it to the percentage linked to smoking is a bit of a misnomer here, so clearly something should be done to try to combat that. I’m just not sure it’s this.

Made me chuckle


Yeah it’s just hard to judge how important that 8% is without knowing what’s either side of it I mean. And when you combine the difference between cutting out smoking and losing weight there is a significance to what you’re highlighting.

I mean we know that stopping smoking is hard but equally it will give you a LOT more money.
Losing weight requires a lot of commitment and not necessarily a monetary gain (particularly not if you have buy new clothes for example).

If the next biggest cause is 5% but is something like not eating beef (I dunno, I’m just pulling things out here obviously) then this is a very different prospect in terms of expecting people to be able to make a positive impact in their lives.

Holy shit. :smiley:

Given that the link between smoking and cancer is commonly understood, but the one between obesity and cancer isn’t (see Three in four don’t know obesity causes cancer), I would argue that regardless of what’s in third place, it would be irresponsible for CRUK not to publicise the link.

The deeper question is whether they are doing so in a responsible way given our social issues around weight - theres probably a fair debate to be had on that, but it’s 8am here and I’m running on 4 hours sleep, so I’m probably not in the right shape to get into it right now.


Oh, this is really difficult. To avoid tying myself in knots I’ve deleted a long post. In short: I really like Sofie Hagen and think she’s a good comedian. I agree with about 98% of what she says, and the 2% where I don’t see things the same way is based on personal experience and some big changes I made to my life over the last eight years that made things MUCH better for me - but just me personally, not me measured against the societally-expected standards of anyone else. I’ll leave it at that and it might not make much sense.

Yeah i agree on this. I would expect CRUK to campaign on all things that may significantly contribute to cancer deaths. 8 out of 10 cancer deaths is a lot, whether the next cause is at 7% or 1% (and I would expect them to be campaigning on anything seen as a cause of 1/100 cancer deaths too) but I would suggest there are better ways to approach this. More of a raising awareness so people are more likely to get things checked out if they are in a higher risk group type way, than an accusing tone. More positive and thoughtful campaigning would definitely be beneficial in this instance I’d say.

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*8 out of 100, although I assume that was just a typo.

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Yeah it was. Quite a major typo. I already went in twice and fixed typos. Can’t believe I didn’t see that one.

Or maybe I’m just really shit at percentages…

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Although the link I posted actually says 8% of cancers but 7% of deaths. Guessing that means we’re talking cancers that aren’t easily treated or maybe aren’t caught early enough very often.

It’s called cancer research not cancer research but don’t publicise your findings if people might not like it

Black people are 3 times more likely to get type 2 diabetes than white people and this may be due to loads of reasons. It would be massively irresponsible for this not to be publicised and give people the knowledge that they are more likely to be susceptible to something due to something out of their control than not telling them. Racism still exists the same as fat shaming

I have conflicting feelings about the way weight’s talked about on the internet, and what the best tactics to take against fat shaming are. But regardless of that, it does seem as though it would be much more effective to put the money/effort that went into this campaign into changing public policy, education, lobbying supermarkets and other outlets to lower the sugar in their products/transfer heavy price discounts on the least healthy items to healthier foods, etc. etc.

I’m not sure how many people, if any, are going to make substantive lifestyle changes as a result of seeing this kind of advert. Maybe it’s loads though—like I say, I don’t know. Cancer Research do have a responsibility to raise public awareness, yes, but they usually do that by publishing findings to be very very badly summarised by tabloids, so not sure why in this particular instance it’s necessary to have a large scale poster campaign.

You’ve described the role of a government health board. CRUK is a charity and so its aim is to prevent cancer as part of its goal but also to get the public onside to donate money.

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I imagine Sofie Hagen would have an even bigger issue with a campaign about how being thinner (not obese/healthier/etc) reduces your chances of getting cancer.


Yeah the health service have plenty of spare cash to spend on adverts

It would be the job of the Health Minister who would use tax money as you would expect.

Are you just wilfully ignorant of austerity and the health spending crisis

No mate.

Are you willfully ignorant of what I just told you about the job of charities? It seems that way.

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