GPs and other medical staff should tell patients they are fat when describing their condition, rather than calling them obese, according to health minister Anne Milton.
Using the term fat will motivate more people to lose weight, she said, adding that it is up to individuals to be responsible for their lifestyles.
Speaking in a personal capacity, she told the BBC: “If I look in the mirror and think I am obese, I think I am less worried [than] if I think I am fat.”
Too many NHS workers worry about using the term, according to the minister, and said using the word fat over the word obese may encourage “personal responsibility”.
She said: “At the end of the day you cannot do it for them. People have to have the information.”
The NICE recently issued new guidance for pregnant women, too many of whom are obese, it said.