August 31, 2014
1 min read

Obesity Action Coalition calls for action against online apps fostering weight bias, shame

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The Obesity Action Coalition and other supporting organizations have called on, Apple Inc., Google Inc. and the Microsoft Corporation to remove online applications that encourage bias around weight issues, according to a press release from the coalition.

The groups issued letters to the tech companies requesting that offensive apps such as ‘Fatify,’ ‘Fatbooth’ and ‘Fat You!’ be taken off cyber shelves and review processes be strengthened; they also created an online petition for the general public to sign.

“Children are the primary users of these types of apps, and the apps are teaching children that the disease of obesity is a funny cosmetic issue, which we know is not true,” Joe Nadglowski, president and chief executive officer of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), said in the release. “You would never see an app target other diseases such as cancer, anorexia or HIV.”

The move comes after one of the national non-profit coalition’s 50,000 members expressed concern to an app developer and received a response that described the electronic content as being for entertainment purposes only, according to the release.

“The cavalier response from the app developer only speaks to the severe lack of understanding and respect for the disease of obesity,” Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA, OAC chairman, said. “More than 93 million individuals in the United States are affected and impacted by obesity. The disease carries with it more than 40 related conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. There is nothing funny about obesity — period.”

With approximately 30% of girls and 24% of boys with excess weight reporting being teased at school, the apps stand to exacerbate weight-based bullying, according to the release. 

“These types of apps have no value in today’s society. In fact, they only fuel the weight bias and stigma that individuals battling this disease face on a daily basis — especially children,” Melinda J. Watman, BSN, MSN, CNM, MBA, chair of the OAC Weight Bias Committee, said in the release. “We know these companies will make the right decision to remove the apps and implement new guidelines that prevent approval of future submissions.”

For More Information:

Petition and copy of letters available at