This is not the first time Oliver has been charged with oversimplifying the complex interplay of food, politics, class, and health. In 2009 he filmed a reality television show called Food Revolution in Huntington, West Virginia, a town deemed the least healthy place in the US. A similar show that aired in the UK in 2005 resulted in a substantial investment in school lunches from the government and a ban on fat and sodium-laden foods, such as Turkey Twizzlers.

In West Virginia, students stopped eating his rainbow salad with creamy dressing after the cameras left. The food-service director for the district, despite having been made into the show’s villain, capitalized on Oliver’s momentum and overhauled the food in a way that local children at least tolerate, though her efforts may be undermined by federal cuts to school lunch.

Dr. Thomas says that the goal of the letter is to highlight the the effects of weight stigma to improve overall pubic health. “We don’t want this to be a divisive conversation,” she said. “We both have the same interest at heart, which is to look after and protect children’s health.”

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