Kathy Sundstrom
Kathy Sundstrom

Is a fat woman suitable for an anti-smoking health ad?

IS AN overweight woman really the best pin-up the Australian Government could come up with for its latest anti-smoking campaign?  

I understand the campaign, flashed across our television screens nightly, is trying to target the horrendous smoking figures in Indigenous people.  

I understand it is trying to pull at heart strings as the woman talks about the family she has lost and she is obviously meant to come across as a "real person".  

But when the Australian Indigenous Health Info Net lists Type 2 diabetes as "one of the most important health problems for Indigenous populations across Australia", perhaps the advert is fundamentally flawed?  

Arguably, diabetes is more of a health problem in Australia than smoking.  

It is certainly becoming more of a challenge to address.  

A fat woman (sorry, but I'm going to say it like it is) talking about the health risks of smoking would be like a thin person talking about weight while lighting up.  

A National Tobacco Campaign in 1999 found anti-smoking campaigns targeting Indigenous people weren't that effective, but may have more power if delivered by an Indigenous elder.    

I checked with the health department if the woman in the campaign was an elder speaking from the heart, or a paid model reading a script.  

"The woman in the commercial is an actor who has been incorporated to tell a story that is common in many Indigenous families," a health spokeswoman said.  

The ad was tested and found the woman to be "a strong role model for Indigenous people".   


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