A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

Obesity a ‘derogatory’ word, says Nice – Telegraph

In Nonsense, Really?!? on May 8, 2012 at 15:23

The word 'obesity' could be considered 'derogatory' and public health professionals should use it with care, according to Nice.

Obesity a ‘derogatory’ word, says Nice 

A quarter of adults in Britain are now obese, a figure that is due to more than double by 2050. Those from poorer backgrounds are much more likely to be obese than the more affluent.

But a government quango is now advising public health experts drawing up anti-obesity plans around the country to avoid using the ‘o’ word itself for fear of upsetting people.B

Health campaigners last night attacked the softly-softly approach, describing it as “extremely patronising”.

Under draft guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), those who are obese should merely be encouraged to get down to a “healthier weight”.

The guidance states that public health professionals should know “the appropriate language to use”, advising them: “Referring to ‘achieving a healthy weight’ may be more acceptable for some people.”


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The document continues: “Directors of public health and local government communications leads should carefully consider the type of language and media to use to communicate about obesity.

“For example, it might be better to refer to a ‘healthier weight’ rather than ‘obesity’ – and to talk more generally about health and wellbeing or specific community issues.”

Ironically, the advice is contained in a paper that makes no bones about its subject matter: it is called Obesity: Working with Local Communities.

But Nice officials concluded that while the term was fine for health professionals to use among themselves, they should handle it with care in public.


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