Jennifer Livingston admits she's overweight. She says she's even obese, if you look at a doctor's chart.
But the Wisconsin anchor says she was outraged by a viewer's email. She read it to her viewers on the air Tuesday morning.
"It's unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn't improved for many years. Surely you don't consider yourself a suitable example for this community's young people, girls in particular."
"Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you'll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle."
Jennifer went on to say she thought he was a bully. She encouraged parents to talk to their kids, educating them about being tolerant.
She says she knows she's overweight, and that comment didn't really bother her. But she says when the viewer questioned whether she was a good role model, she got angry.
"I am much more than a number on a scale," she said.
"We need to teach our children how to be kind, not critical. And we need to do that by example," she said. "We are better than that email. We are better than the bullies that would try to take us down."
Renee Dabbs is an image consultant in Tampa. She says somewhere along the line, we became a society that put a lot of importance on how much we weigh and what we look like.
"For whatever reason, our society has decided that's how we're going to evaluate people. And it's wrong," she said.
Tampa was recently named by Men's Health magazine as "The Most Vain City in America." According to their survey, Tampa has more people who will do anything to look younger: botox, plastic surgery, tanning salons and hair dye.
"The crazy part is, when did obesity become the line to whether you respect yourself, you're a role model, you respect other people, how people look at you? We are a very vain society, and it's gotten way over the chart," Dabbs said.
Sheila Dean, a medical nutritionist says she can see both sides, and she does agree with the Wisconsin viewer in one regard.
"What the viewer said about obesity being a dangerous condition is 100 percent true. It's a major liability to this nation. It's a major problem," Dean said.
She says healthy eating could also create a good role model.
"Absolutely, healthy eating is a fantastic way to demonstrate your interest in good health," she said.
Jennifer's husband, also an anchor at WKBT, posted the story on his Facebook page. They've received more than 6,000 posts.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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