Until a few weeks ago no one knew who Kenneth Tong was. Despite an unforgetable four week stint on Big Brother (he was thrown off) Ken was just another Joe. A baby faced, self declared sociopath with lots of family money and little to do at 27. Until he started Twittering comments about anorexia and size zero (though who knows who was really listening).
His comments outraged a few, the media publicity started and quickly others commented on him, from Rihanna and Katy Perry to Gordon Ramsey and Lily Allen. Overnight Tong has become a celebrity (those these days becoming a celebrity is all too easy) and the most discussed (if not disgusting) person on Twitter.
Though for 99% of the population, we probably only heard about it via the newspapers. Which is actually how most successful social networking seems to really work, an extension of PR
Iâ€™m not great fan of Twitter as most of it is mindless chatter, and I have yet to be convinced of its real marketing potential over the hype and sales talk from those with a vested interest. I can think of 20 better ways to sell.
Most of us are probably aware what Tong tweeted, â€˜women should get thin or die tryingâ€™, â€˜hunger hurts but starving worksâ€™ and â€˜you have eaten enough for a lifetime, stop, you are disgusting.â€™ These may seem the words of someone who may have drunk one too many but comments like â€˜all women should become managed anorexicsâ€™ started a debate about the danger of encouraging such actions. Ironically, Tong has picked up over 10,000 young girls on his Twitter.
Although Tong seems to be reveling in his new found publicity he has now declared it was all a joke. Umm, strange sense of humour! But some people have pointed out that maybe Tong has done some good through his â€˜fat people are disgustingâ€™ seem a little personal.
Every year eating disorders effect many people, especially girls. Itâ€™s classified as a mental condition, whereas over eating is just seen as the outcome of a wealthy, over indulgent society.
In a week when Tong is hitting headlines the NHS have released a press statement that obese people will bankrupt the NHS within 10 years.
It is now one of the leading cause of preventable deaths in the UK and the world, far more people die from over weight than under weight. Over 100,000 hospital admissions a year are obesity related. Over 6,000 weight loss operations are performed a year, shockingly over a million people need one. The fattest man in the UK, Paul Mason, costs the tax payer over Â£1.5m, to look after. Ironically, heâ€™s now trying to sue the NHS for not solving his obesity â€“ proving the first rule of fat people, they donâ€™t take responsibility for themselves. Mason eats 20,000 calories a day and weighed at one point over 1000 lbs. Which begs the question, when you are too fat to get out of a chair, whoâ€™s feeding you that much food?
We are becoming a nation of fat bastards so maybe Tongâ€™s comments are at the right time to start the debate. Would actually all be healthier if we tried to be size zero rather than size XXL?
The â€˜Change 4 Lifeâ€™ campaign was apparently a flop, despite millions of pounds of tax payers money being spent on it. So should the government stop being a nanny state and pass the responsibility over to consumers?
But one of the biggest discussions is the marketing of unhealthy foods â€“ high in fats, sugars and carbs. Should high calorie products be banned from advertising? Should it carry a health warning? Should Coke only be allowed to only market Zero and Light and banned from featuring the high sugar version? What about fast foods like KFC, or snacks products, biscuits, and the many other unhealthy products we buy in the supermarket? Should we have a fat tax? Should good healthy low fat healthy products be given tax advantages?
There are many questions but what is certain is that unless we do something now, Britain will get fatter and more people will suffer and die. So maybe Tong is right, we have eaten enough for a lifetime, we need to stop, we are fat , we are disgusting.