Obesity is now a Dirty Word
|January 11, 2012||Posted by Alex under Canada, Lifestyle|
According to a new study which examined how patients perceive a variety of words related to weight problems, patients almost unanimously felt disdain for the term “obesity”, ranking it just behind “fatness” in terms of being derivative.
Doctors in turn are being urged to refrain from using “obesity”, even though it is medical in nature, when describing a patients condition.
Compiled in the list of “undesirable” terms are obvious no-nos like “fatness”, “too fat” and “lazy” which bear notable negative connotations. However, it is surprising that obesity is now considered just as negative as these terms. While fat is an observation that is usually negative in character, obesity is the medical term for people suffering from excessive body weight.
Regardless, after being handed the results to a patient survey that took place in Philadelphia, both American and Canadian doctors are being urged to avoid using these terms and to approach the subject of a patients weight problems more cautiously. One doctor suggests that colleagues approach a patient’s weight by focusing on some of the associated problems, like heightened blood pressure.
I’m not quite sure that I approve of this willowing about the issue. Yes, it’s entirely true that doctors should respect their patients and certainly never use a word like “lazy” to describe their condition, but if they are being told to avoid using precise medical terms, where does that leave them? If a patient’s weight is the cause of their condition, a doctor should be able to address it. If we start to mark off other medical words as taboo, doctors are going to start having a very hard time giving people proper medical attention.