A new study has found that negative ads that stigmatize obesity or individuals struggling with their weight, asking fat people to stop eating outside really do not work.
Yale researcher Rebecca Puhl organized an online experimental study with 1,041 Americans to determine the effects of 30 public service announcements from various countries, and found that negative messages could have the opposite effect on overweight Americans.
"By stigmatizing obesity or individuals struggling with their weight, campaigns can alienate the audience they intend to motivate and hinder the behaviors they intend to encourage," she said in a press release.
"Public health campaigns that are designed to address obesity should carefully consider the kinds of messages that are disseminated, so that those who are struggling with obesity can be supported in their efforts to become healthier, rather than shamed and stigmatized," Fox News quoted Puhl, as saying.
According to the report, campaigns that did not mention obesity at all, but which offered specific tips to change behavior, were rated the most motivating.
Campaigns that used shame or blame were rated least motivating.
Nina Savelle-Rocklin, a psychotherapist who specializes in eating disorders, is not in the least surprised by the results of the study and said: "Shame is about feeling bad about who you are".
Many who struggle with weight "are going to turn to food... . It's just a recipe for disaster," she added.