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Call obese people fat, says minister

  • 20 Comments

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.

  • 20 Comments

Readers' comments (20)

  • I agree! Call fat people fat! Why tell them lies? Oh, sorry, we are in the UK, right!? I forget that people have equal opportunities here! Hilarious!

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  • Yep, call em fat!
    But please increase the number of psychologist we are training as the next few years will see an increase in Anorexic disorder!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • I wonder what would happen if we started using other terms and names that have been considered unacceptable for somoe years? It would be considered TOTALLY unacceptable by the Minister (AND RIGHTLY SO), for instance, if we used the old terms for people with learning difficulties. I find the Minister's thoughts to be equally unacceptable!

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  • I agree with the minister. the UK has gone on long enough with the politically correct rubbish just so we don't 'hurt anyone's feelings'. if people are fat then call them that; if they fail something then they fail (not 'did not achieve'); if they are ignorant/stupid/lazy etc then call them that. which also leads to the perfectly right decision that many NHS staff should be sacked because they simply are too stupid/lazy to do their jobs correctly and the only ones who suffer are the patients.

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  • All of the above and the minister don't seem to like people.
    So, in the spirit of the above:
    Alcoholics - drunks
    Mentally ill - nutters
    Drug addicts - druggies
    Physically disabled - spastics
    Elderly - coffin dodgers
    Where do you stop?
    Surely there are more important things to worry about and bad mouthing people and verbally abusing them goes against basic good manners let alone good professional conduct.
    The minister and above should feel ashamed

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  • Whilst there must always be a clinical distinction between being overweight and being obese, I actually agree with calling a spade a spade here.

    And to certain posters above, this is not about verbally abusing patients, this is about telling them, in plain language, that they are too fat. This may give them the kick they need to change. Noone is suggesting that the Nurse dances round the patient calling them names and pointing, what is needed is simple plain language followed by solid advice on healthy living and eating.

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  • and you are typical of the bleeding heart do-gooders who do this country no favours at all

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  • I so agree with you Mike. Some of anonymous at 5.21pm comments are just rude terms for a condition. Telling someone they are too fat is a statement of fact as would be telling someone with anorexia they are too thin. As long as its done professionally, and no-one is suggesting that health professionals be rude to patients here, I can see absolutely no harm at all in telling a patient they need to lose weight. I am a diabetes nurse and while I don't currently call my patients fat, I do mention to them that they are overweight, none of them have ever taken offence at that. We must not treat patients as stupid, fat people know they are fat, and all the while health professionals tiptoe around them with words such as 'obesity problem' it lets them think of being fat as a medical condition, not as something which is their power to change. Let's call them fat, put the ball back in their court.

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  • Fat = Gluttony

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  • Wow! people are really struggling with having to take account of peoples' feelings here, and a tangible denial of the impact of what they might say to people in their care, professionally or not. I notice lots of terms of hostility trying to be dressed up as plain speaking. I find it intriguing why being overweight is such a deep seated intolerance in people and a blind spotting of other factors that are having a big impact on peoples' health behaviours.
    Again this is an excuse for people who have a large dose of self-righteouness, little empathy or care for how other people feel and an award of self license to spill guts as and how they choose.

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