Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Australia hopes to disgust citizens into losing weight

GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images

Frustrated with other tactics, Australian doctors are hoping they can disgust people into losing weight.

The Australian Medical Association is proposing to develop anti-obesity advertisements similar to the displays on cigarette packages that are designed to gross people out, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The ads would show damaged organs, people drinking body fat, or eating packets of sugar in an effort to shock people into eating more healthfully.

Story continues below advertisement

"There is no doubt that obesity is going to overtake smoking as the major killer for Australians," the association's president Dr. Andrew Pesce told the Herald. "We have been campaigning against smoking for 30 years and are starting to see smoking rates decrease. Obesity is our next target."

The ads would be modelled after a campaign introduced by New York City health department in 2009. That department has since churned out gross-out ads like this one depicting a man drinking human fat poured out of a can of pop, and this one showing a man downing packets of sugar, with the tagline: "You'd never eat 16 packs of sugar. Why would you drink 16 packs of sugar?"

But given the latest trend of glorifying gluttony (look no further than and the YouTube channel Epic Meal Time), is it even possible to shock people with large volumes of fat and sugar any more?

Can gross-out advertising work? Or would it simply stress out those battling the bulge? Tell us what you think.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at