Woke researchers call for term ‘morbidly’ obese to be banned because it’s offensive
It’s insulting to call the fattest category of people “morbidly” obese, wakeful researchers said today.
And they urged doctors and scientists to stop calling failed weight loss attempts as “failures.”
Terms used in the future should include “ineffective” or “inadequate” weight loss or even “secondary weight gain.”
No specific suggestions have been made to replace the term “morbid,” although it is often used gravely instead.
Critics today rejected the recommendation, published in a leading obesity journal, saying it was “strange” given morbid obesity is a clinical term.
But industry experts agreed that “less stigmatizing” language was crucial in the fight against the bulge, saying “words really matter.”
Joe Nadglowski, chairman of the Obesity Action Coalition, said: “The old adage ‘sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ doesn’t apply to obese people.”
It comes after a separate team of researchers claimed the word obesity is racist and should be dropped in favor of “people in bigger bodies.”
It’s insulting to call the fattest category of people “morbidly” obese, and so is saying their weight loss attempt was a “failure.”
More than 42 million adults in the UK will be overweight or obese by 2040, according to new forecasts from Cancer Research UK
The proposed change in the language of obesity was made by a group of British experts writing in the journal Obesity, which describes itself as ‘the single most important source of information… for people with obesity’.
Researchers analyzed 3,000 academic papers on bariatric surgery, including gastric bands and bypasses.
They wanted to see “how often negative terminology was used.”
About 2.4 percent of the screened papers contained the word “fail,” while 16.8 percent used “morbid.”
Sixteen patients trying to lose weight were also surveyed by phone about how the language made them feel.
HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR BODY MASS INDEX – AND WHAT IT MEANS?
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height.
- BMI = (weight in pounds / (height in inches x height in inches)) x 703
- BMI = (weight in kilograms / (height in meters x height in meters))
- Under 18.5: underweight
- 18.5 – 24.9: Healthy
- 25 – 29.9: overweight
- 30 – 39.9: obese
- 40+: Morbid obesity
Some said it left them in “tears” and not seeking medical attention for up to 20 years.
They emphasized how the word “failure” implied personal responsibility for the lack of weight loss, suggesting that a lack of willpower or self-control is to blame.
Meanwhile, the team argued that “morbid” can mean “unhealthy.” One participant called it a “horrifying” phrase.
Lead author Richard Welbourn, a bariatric surgeon working at Musgrove Park Hospital in Somerset, said: ‘All healthcare professionals should be aware of this study and consider their language when talking to colleagues and patients about obesity.
“Non-judgmental, standardized terminology can help patients feel safe to start a conversation about weight and possible treatment options.”
Mr Nadglowski, who was not involved in the investigation, said: ‘Our words really matter.
‘Bad or outdated language damages the relationship between healthcare provider and patient and ultimately prevents obese people from seeking or receiving care.
‘It’s time we prioritized better language use around obesity.’
Christopher Snowdon, of the Institute for Economic Affairs think tank, said: ‘Morbid obesity is a clinical term, so it seems odd to tell clinicians and academics not to use it.
It is called morbid obesity because a BMI above 35 is associated with a greater risk of death, as opposed to being overweight and slightly obese.
Analysis by Cancer Research UK shows that 71 percent of people could be overweight or obese by 2040. Of these, nearly 36 percent of adults (21 million) are likely to be obese (blue dotted line). Chart shows: Projections for the proportion of healthy weight (grey), overweight (pink) and obese (blue) adults in the UK from 2010 to 2040
Chart shows: Projections for the proportion of men (purple) and women (pink) who will be obese in the UK from 2010 to 2040
Chart shows: Projections for the proportion of men (purple) and women (pink) who are overweight in the UK from 2010 to 2040
“It’s not clear why an organization called the Obesity Society, writing in a journal called Obesity, thinks people will be unnecessarily upset if they are described as morbidly obese, but are happy to be called obese.”
“Maybe we should just start calling people fat again?”
NHS advice pages on obesity do not mention the words ‘morbid’ or ‘morbid’, but instead have a BMI above 40 listed as ‘severely obese’.
However, the term is still used in certain parts of the health service site.
In the new paper, the team writes that the “conscious effort” to change the language has been “gradual at best.”
Britain and the US are currently grappling with an obesity crisis, with nearly two-thirds of adults considered overweight.
Experts have warned that unless the spiraling trend is reversed, obesity will overshadow smoking as the number one cause of cancer.
With a view to fighting the epidemic, No10 introduced mandatory calorie labeling for restaurants, cafes and takeaways in England earlier this year with more than 250 employees.
At the same time, however, the government banned ‘buy one, get one free’ deals on unhealthy foods because of the cost of living crisis.
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 servings of different fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count
• Basic meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, preferably whole grain
• 30 grams of fiber per day: This is equivalent to eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole-grain cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of whole-wheat bread, and large baked potato with skin
• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks) and opt for low-fat and low-sugar options
• Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which is fatty)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume in small amounts
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day
• Adults should have less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide