The word “obesity” may become less in evidence if a new government initiative takes hold.
Ann Milton, who is England’s public health minister stressed she was speaking in a personal capacity, and said: “If I look in the mirror and think I am obese I think I am less worried [than] if I think I am fat.”
She said too many staff working in the NHS were worried about using the word “fat” , but suggested it could help encourage “personal responsibility”. Use of the word “obese” when “fat” is the everyday word was presumably taken up so as not to stigmatise people who were overweight As obesity (fatness?) threatens a high proportion of the population including children, a more proactive approach has been considered necessary.
Interestingly Professor Steve Field, of the Royal College of GPs, said he agreed with Ms Milton and already tried to use the term fat as much as he could.
“I think the term obese medicalises the state. It makes it a third person issue. I think we need to sometimes be more brutal and honest.
“You can be popular by saying the things people want to hear and in the NHS we too often do that when we should be spelling things out clearly.”
But Professor Lindsey Davies, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, which represents public health professionals, warned against using ‘fat’ when dealing with patients.
“People don’t want to be offensive. There is a lot of stigma to being a fat person.”
She said health professionals started using the term obesity to encourage patients to think about the condition in a different way.
“Obesity is something that happens to people rather than something they are. The language you use all depends on the relationship you have with a patient.
“I would probably be more likely to say something like ‘can we talk about your weight’ rather than obesity, but that is a judgement you make on a patient-by-patient basis.”
I know from personal experience it was when the scales tipped a lot in the wrong direction, and the waistband was just too tight that I got motivated to do something about weight. It can take a lot of discipline to undo the comfort food / trigger patterns. I certainly noticed the unbelievable amounts of chocolate available on sale when at the supermarket checkout, or when buying petrol. After a while though the eating patterns get reestablished, and temptation is easier to resist.
About one in five adults in the UK is obese, a figure that has tripled since 1980. One of the danger zones is a large waist contributing to an “apple” shape. If your waist is around 40 inches and you would like to look sleeker and feel better telephone the clinic 01628 668339 and ask for an appointment with Andrew Loosely. He can tell you what to eat for your particular condition (which is much more accurate than simply your body type) as well as help you plan your diet to suit the season. What you eat in summer is different from the appropriate food during other seasons. As well as losing weight you get the maximum all-round health benefit.
And the best way to keep the weight off? Enjoy healthy food, take gentle exercise, avoid stress and have a happy life!
- Use fat instead of obese – minister (bbc.co.uk)