Fit vs. Fiction's Blog

Does the OMA want us to be HEALTHY or just skinny?

According to a recent article published in The Globe and Mail, the Ontario Medical Association says junk food should be treated the same way as tobacco, slapped with higher taxes and packaged with graphic warning labels.

Why is it that FEAR and SHAME have become the most popular ways of attacking the obesity crisis we’re facing?’s a secret: It doesn’t work.

The OMA wants to start putting graphic images of diseased body parts on “Junk Food”. I suppose their plan is that when people reach for a slice of pizza or can of Coke, they’ll see these nasty images, realize that these foods are unhealthy and grab a fresh salad and tall glass of water instead.

There are a lot of reasons why I think this idea is assinine.

As a body image advocate and author, I can tell you that the last thing we want to do is create fear and anxiety over food. Food isn’t something to be feared, but appreciated, respected and enjoyed. I  fully admit that we are a society that overindulges when it comes to what we put in our mouths, but negativity just breeds more negativity and is counterproductive in fighting the war against obesity. Have we completely given up on education? Instead of focusing on the evils of “Bad” food, why not teach people how to appreciate the healthier ones? Consulting Dietician and Author, Rosie Schwartz speaks more about this here:

I’m going to talk about something the OMA seems to be completely forgetting about and what their primary focus should be: Our Health.

I would love to ask the doctors behind this plan if they are going to be issuing the same types of labels for all of the “Diet” products lining our shelves that are so loaded with artificial ingredients and chemicals, they’re better suited for a chemistry lab than grocery store. These days, almost every food you can think of comes in a “lite” or diet version with words like FAT-FREE and SUGAR-FREE plastered on their packaging, fooling consumers into thinking that purchasing them means making healthier choices. Are there going to be graphic labels for these products as well? I’m thinking there will not.

So what exactly is their message? It sounds like they’re telling us that high calorie,high fat “junk food” food will expand our waistlines and make us an economic drain on society, but the ones containing less fat and sugar are just fine; even though they are proving to be more and more dangerous to our overall health.

Obesity can lead to illnesses like Diabetes, but do they realize the same can be said for artificial sweeteners? We are so terrified of gaining weight that we are falling into the diet food trap and putting our health at risk everyday by making what seem like healthy substitutions, not realizing that the “lighter” foods can be equally detrimental to our quality of life:

I find it INFURIATING when I vist a school with my Fit vs Fiction Body Image workshops and see that in an effort to improve the health of their students they’ve removed the pop from their vending machines. While that sounds like a great idea, that effort is lost when they choose to replace it with DIET pop!

HOW is the diet stuff any healthier than the full sugar ones??

I am a huge believer in balance and moderation when it comes to how we eat. Scaring people away from certain foods won’t teach them how to eat, it just teaches them how not to.  I think we’re going about this the wrong way.

I’ve had enough of the ad campaigns that focus on everything we’re doing wrong instead of encouraging us to do better.

Yes, obesity is a serious issue but using fear as a way of getting people to do change is pointless. Eating disorders are becoming more and more rampant among girls and boys as young as 5 years old and anyone who doesn’t think our society’s fat-phobia has a lot to do with that is deluding themselves.

If the OMA wants us to be healthier they need to remove their tunnel vision and start looking beyond the scale for what that really means.

Self-worth should not be measured in pounds.


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