If you are living in Western Australia, or possible just Australia, you may have seen the recent Live lighter campaign. I have taken an interest into this particular campaign, just because I have personally noticed it a lot over the past year. The campaign uses shocking images of ‘toxic fat’ and ‘grabbable guts’ in the same way that public health campaigns shocked us into stopping smoking. But is the use of fear tactics to promote health the only way we can make any positive chances to our health? This year I will be undertaking a (very) small health research project looking at the impact this campaign has had on our health habits, especially the habits of university students.
Which searching for literature I found this article from the conversation on the new campaign.
I had a read, and it brings about some very good points about the campaign, and some thoughts that I hadn’t had about some of the issues. Considering the current state of our health, and the lack of change that we have seen with past health promotion campaigns, isn’t it time we shocked the general public into changing their habits? It worked well for the prevalence of smoking in the last 20 years, but will the same tactic work for our food choices? Or will it just be another message that is forgotten?
I know from experience that when we come from a place of fear, only negative outcomes can occur. For example, people who are angry and frustrated are coming from a place of fear-like a bully who has self-confidence issues. So if we are promoting health from a place of fear, how are we going to change peoples behaviors for the long term? Or are we so deep into this obesity epidemic that the only way out is through fear?
The article above notes that fear tactics can work for short term changes, however don’t have much of an impact on long term changes. This is the same as diets in general. All of the fad diets, detoxes, plans, and current trends are not going to change anything long term-buying that recipe book just isn’t going to make the difference. The difference also isn’t being made by the government currently. And the truth is we are a product of our environment. The reason we are all overweight is not because we are’lazy’ or ‘genes’ or any other personal reasons. We are simply products of the environments in which we grew up. If our parents never cooked, then how are we supposed to learn? If we ate processed foods throughout childhood, and had access to fast food then of course we are going to eat them, and of course we are going to be obese.
The reason I bring this up, is because we (health advocates, health foodies, my readers) are already here, we already know about health, we are reading about nutrition everyday, we live and breath health. But as a community are we doing enough to help others to get to where we are? We have our friends, associates and networks of health-minded individuals that collectively will have more knowledge and understanding of real health than most health practitioners. So why haven’t we decided to stand up together and change the lives of the people around us. There are hundreds and thousands of people we can influence to help change their behaviors.
There are only two way in which I can see we are going to change this: 1. By joining forces as communities and groups to change the physical environments in which we live, and to teach each others how to change the habits of themselves and their families, and 2. by making a huge social change towards wholefoods, organic, and local. The saying goes that you make a vote for the world you want to live in with every dollar you spend. So if we are spending our votes on cheap, unsustainable fast foods and mass produced meat and produce, then the world will continue to turn in the way it is now.
Or we can vote to support the local farmers, producers, health advocates, small businesses and friends. We can make simple changes to our lives, which will in turn influence the lives of those around us. I ask every one of my readers to make this vote.
Wow, I really didn’t expect this post to end up where it has, but ill just let it be what it is.
Please voice your opinions below, I would love to start this conversation on The Wellness Plate, because I think it is the most important social change our generation will make.