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Another Expert Slams Fat-Shaming Corporate Weight-Loss “Challenges”

Do you know whether heartburn pills are safe for long-term use?

While vendors like HealthyWage are pushing company weight challenges onto unsuspecting and poorly advised wellness directors — and wellness promoters at the University of Pennsylvania are subjecting their own employees to weight-loss experiments to encourage corporations to do more of them — real researchers are urging a halt to these activities.  They do more harm than good.

We, of course, have been calling out fat-shaming for months on this site–with specific attention to companies like Johnson&Johnson, ShapeUp, and Vitality Group, all companies that want to profit from fat-shaming in various ways.  In particular, we wrote a very well-received Huffpost on this topic three months back.

And a year ago, we called for an end to these fat-shaming programs, showing that they made no impact on health expenses, productivity or profitability.

However, we did not explore this topic remotely as well as Pat Barone, in today’s LifeZette. (While LifeZette is Laura Ingraham’s publication, Pat Barone lives in the People’s Republic of Madison, so the politics cancels itself out.)  We urge everyone take a looksee here…and then when you’re ready to sue your wellness vendor and need an expert witness, who you gonna call?

We invariably get fast settlements.  No vendor wants to face me in court, where even wellness vendors are required to tell the truth.  Facts, as we often say, are the wellness industry’s worst nightmare.


  1. Dell Dorn says:

    Please understand I am an unabashed fan of Al and Vik and the work they do. (Here comes the however). However, the article by Pat Barone on fat shaming appears shallow.

    First, Mr Barone talks about employees who VOLUNTEER to participate in weight loss challenges. Therefore they know the rules and public shaming that may occur. This is not a company forcing employees to participate. And yet, some employees participate year after year. These employees feel no shame.

    Second, he uses a couple of lame examples of employees, who again, VOLUNTEERED to participate in their companies weight loss challenges and people cheated.
    These one-off examples are not the same as companies or corporations requiring employees to participate.

    How are employees shamed by volunteering to participate in an activity when they know the rules of the game.

    For this article i ask “where’s the beef?”


    • whynobodybelievesthenumbers says:

      Hi Dell, thank you for the comment. This is a good point. I don’t think it negates Ms. Barone’s article but it should certainly have been mentioned. I think her bigger point is, why offer them in the first place? You could offer a “voluntary” program where employees walk on hot coals but it wouldn’t be good for the employees who do volunteer.


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