Overweight celebrities in the TV and music industries are setting a bad example to youngsters, with many in danger of making obesity treatment appear like normal procedures, it has been claimed.
While health experts have long argued that, by focusing on skinny models, the fashion industry is helping to fuel anorexia among young girls, leading obesity expert Professor Michael McMahon has now claimed that overweight stars could have a similarly damaging influence on public health.
Professor McMahon's comments come on the back of a study carried out by Nuffield Health, where he works, which found that a significant proportion of obese adults have an apathetic attitude to their weight, with many not even considering shedding the pounds, in spite of doctors' advice.
He stated: "The increasing profile of larger celebrities, for example James Corden, Eamonn Holmes, Ruth Jones and Beth Ditto, means that being overweight is now perceived as being 'normal' in the eyes of the public.
"We talk about the dangers of skinny media images, but the problem actually swings both ways."
According to the National Obesity Forum, around one in four UK adults can now be classed as obese, having a BMI of 30 or above.