View Full Version : Public health minister wants to shame Beth Ditto into losing weight.

07-29-2010, 12:07 PM
Have we talked about this story yet?

GPs and other health professionals should tell people they are fat rather than obese, England's public health minister says.

Anne Milton told the BBC the term fat was more likely to motivate them into losing weight.

She said it was important people should take "personal responsibility" for their lifestyles.

But health experts said the word could stigmatise those who are overweight.

Ms Milton, who stressed she was speaking in a personal capacity, 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 term, but suggested it could help encourage "personal responsibility".

"At the end of the day, you cannot do it for them. People have to have the information," she added.

The minister spoke to the BBC after setting out the coalition government's vision for public health.

A white paper is expected to be published in the autumn, which she said would stress the combined role of the individual, state, business and society.

The comments come after Health Secretary Andrew Lansley last month attacked the "lecturing" of recent public health campaigns, such as the drive on school meals that followed Jamie Oliver's TV shows.

'More brutal'

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."
Hot sauce, coming through. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10789553)

I always thought obese sounded a lot harsher, myself. I could think "I am fat" and know that it was on a sliding scale. Whereas if I considered myself obese, I'd think "uh oh, health problems! A line has been crossed!"



07-29-2010, 01:27 PM
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.

Hello? You're a doctor. Medicalised states are the only ones that you should be concerning yourself with. Obese is the appropriate term to use.

I have some friends who are obese but to me do not appear fat, so IMO I can see how "fat" carriers much harsher connotations, but I can see how it'd go the other way as well. I think, though, that when a GP wants to use the term "fat" to shame people into losing weight, they're out of bounds and entering pretty control-freakish territory. Just give your patient the actual information without using judgement terms. This is how much you weigh, this weight is considered unhealthy for reasons a b and x. There.

But I don't really get why people in our society are so bothered by other people weighing more than they think they ought to. I have friends who get visibly upset when they see a "really fat" person. How does the body size of a total stranger affect your day at all? Yes, it may be unhealthy for them, but few among us can say we always make the healthiest choices.

07-29-2010, 04:39 PM
Oh no you didn't!

It's interesting that the complaint is that the word obese "medicalizes the state" which is why it's important to say fat----because these people shouldn't be fat for medical reasons.

Head scratcher, there.

07-29-2010, 04:51 PM
I think that's just an excuse for them to use harsher words because of their own dislike of fat people.

07-29-2010, 04:56 PM
Are we going to start calling the mentally disabled 'stupid', and all smokers, assholes? Can we have a new diagnosis called Amy Winehouse whenever Dr.s encounter crackheads? I like where this is going.

ETA ALSO obese > fatness in every sense of the hungry alligator.

07-29-2010, 05:43 PM
I just don't get it. Obese IS worse than fat. If you're obese, you're more than fat, and that's bad. Is it really that hard to comprehend? Words just can't be replaced because a couple of people think one sounds meaner.

07-29-2010, 09:43 PM
Especially something like "morbidly obese". That just sounds like a death sentence right there. If someone says "You're fat", I'd be like "Thanks Captain Obvious, want to point out something else I already know?". When someone says "you're morbidly obese", that cuts a lot deeper.

07-29-2010, 10:19 PM
The logic of this escapes me.

Hello, fat people know they're fat. Weightloss is hard and even harder to actually maintain. It's not a vocabulary problem, it's a problem that nobody really knows how to address because there are so many factors on personal, medical, emotional and cultural levels to take into account. But hey, let's make pronouncements that make us sound all proactive to people who don't actually like to acknowledge that some problems are a little more complex than they'd like.

07-29-2010, 10:22 PM
They should just replace 'obese' with 'obeast'. Is that motivational enough?

07-29-2010, 10:26 PM
Oh totally. I know if I went to the docs and he called me a fatty mcbeast and treated me with contempt, I totally would not go home feeling like a piece of shit and probably refuse to see a doc again unless I was dying and the weight would just slide right off because all my eating issues would miraculously self-solve. You can see how well that works with fats kids who get bullied at school. One round of FATTY MCFATFAT and they become star atheletes practically overnight! Abuse is good. Please, someone come scream insults at me so I can lose those extra ten pounds stuck to my arse for the past ten years.

07-29-2010, 10:34 PM
They should just replace 'obese' with 'obeast'. Is that motivational enough?Or, in Ireland, O'Bese.

07-29-2010, 10:39 PM
I always thought fat meant obese.

07-29-2010, 10:45 PM
Or, in Ireland, O'Bese.

Or said in a really dejected tone. 'Oh.......bese :('

07-29-2010, 10:46 PM
Or in a positive tone!

Oh! Bese!

07-29-2010, 10:46 PM
Like a long lost friend!

07-29-2010, 10:51 PM
"Obese" is an iamb. That's your problem right there. Its iambic rhythm lends the word a quasi-Shakespearean respectability. If we changed the pronunciation of the word to make it, say, a trochee, it'd be plain sailing from here to land-of-the-beautiful (which does definitely exist). A trochaic "obese", with its sense of a downward trajectory as we hit the second syllable, perfectly captures the feeling of disappointment and, let's face it, disgust we all feel when we look any any human being who is not Cheryl Tweedy.

07-29-2010, 10:51 PM
oh bese, yeeehesssssssssssssss


07-30-2010, 12:12 AM

07-30-2010, 01:28 AM
All that's stopping me from losing weight is whether someone calls me fat instead of obese. That's what's really gonna push me over the edge into not being such a disgusting little beast.

07-30-2010, 02:05 AM
It's just basic science, guys.

1. I was a fat teenager.
2. My dad called me "fatboy" a lot.
3. ???
4. Profit - I am no longer a fat teenager.

Had my dad merely called me "obeseboy", I may not have lost weight. We'll just never know.

07-30-2010, 02:33 PM

Oh, bees!

other pete
08-03-2010, 10:22 AM
Interesting/scary programme about When Private Budget Gastric Band Surgery Goes Wrong (And The NHS Ends Up Paying For The Emergency) on radio 4 this morning - this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00t6zqs should come live in a few hours and last for 7 days.

Excellent point made by one contributor, that when private doctors failto make it clear that there will be a lifelong need for follow up care and probably sequential surgery then there's no way it can be called "informed consent". But still they're taking peoples money and hacking away. Why they hell aren't they being stuck off already?