by Marion Nestle
Jan 17 2008

The latest government anti-obesity campaign?

Michele Simon of Appetite for Profit fame sends me this link to’s account of the Advertising Council’s  latest pro bono campaign for the Department of Health and Human Services: placing itty bitty tee-shirts in laundromat dryers with the slogan “Shrink a few sizes.”  Michele can’t tell if it’s a joke and neither can I.  Surely they have to be kidding?  Does anyone know for sure?

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  • Yes, let’s shame fat people into losing weight. That will be an effective strategy. Let’s start early: let’s encourage thin children to pick on fat kids; let’s arrange our physical ed programs so fat kids are humiliated; let’s discriminate against fat people in employment; let’s avert our eyes when we see a fat person coming toward us on the street; let’s segregate fat people’s clothing in specialty stores where the clerks treat them rudely.

    Oh, wait. We already do that, and Americans are still fat. Maybe it’s time for another strategy.

    I don’t think it’s a joke. At least, the HHS site exists and displays lots of other tasteless, offensive nonsense like this. (Though nothing I saw on this site was quite as bad as tin

    This is what happens when you get marketing people, instead of scientists, giving Americans advice on how to lose weight. I predict more of this kind of garbage now that your buddy Brian Wansink is at the USDA. (Yes, I know the USDA is not involved with this campaign, but just give him time.) The man actually says in Mindless Eating that you can avoid becoming fat by watching fat people and doing the opposite of what they do.