If A Doctor Said You Were Overweight Would You Be Offended?

@Janey1966 (24126)
Carlisle, England
May 30, 2012 4:15pm CST
Let me put this another way; "If a doctor said you were obese would you be offended?" I wouldn't either way because both statements are true. However, some MPs (and, let's face it, politicians LOVE to interfere in all aspects of our lives) are campaigning for doctors to use different language..to promote a more positive body image. It's called "weight neutral language" and it's ridiculous, in my view. Here is an excerpt from the article on the BBC website:- [i]"There are many people who would agree that using the term "fat" to somebody's face is neither helpful or pleasant. But there's a growing movement to get doctors and other public health professionals to stop using words such as "overweight" and "obese" as well. MPs think the terms have a negative impact on body image and self-esteem, and want doctors to promote broader health and lifestyle messages instead. The idea has been gaining momentum for a while. A study by the University of Pennsylvania in January found the word "obesity" offensive, while Liverpool City Council considered banning the word in its literature aimed at children in 2010. And in March, draft guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said those who were obese should merely be encouraged to get down to a "healthier weight". But not everyone agrees. In 2010, the Public Health Minister for England, Anne Milton, said GPs should tell people they were fat rather than obese as it was more likely to motivate them into losing weight."[/i] What do you think about this? What are they doing to the English Language? It's getting to the stage whereby we won't be able to say anything to anybody, even if you are a doctor trying to help someone lose weight by LETTING THEM KNOW they are OVERWEIGHT! There, I've said it. Lock me up, I don't care lol.
3 people like this
23 responses
@nonersays (2759)
• United States
30 May 12
No, if my doctor said I was obese I wouldn't be offended. I currently weight 240 pounds. I'm not just obese I'm MORBIDLY OBESE. Funny thing is, my doctors have never once ever mentioned anything about my weight to me. I guess because I'm healthy in every other way.....no medical problems related to my weight at this point. Having said that, there is a difference in my doctor calling me fat and some random person on the street calling me fat. At my job a customer once said, "I need help finding something." and the person she was with said, "Well go ask that fat @$$ over there." and pointed at me. (I DID NOT help those people) While I don't want words like fat, obese or overweight banned from the language, I think people should be better taught when it is appropriate to use it and when it is not.
@Janey1966 (24126)
• Carlisle, England
30 May 12
I agree totally although who'd be a doctor these days? In a month's time they are going on strike over changes to their pensions..they should strike over not being able to use certain words as well. I mean, what other words will be next on the list I wonder.."mental" "disabled" "anorexic?"
1 person likes this
@nonersays (2759)
• United States
31 May 12
I think they are already trying to do away with mental. But, you know, if they want to forbid "obese" then maybe they SHOULD forbid "anorexic" also. If they keep "banning" words pretty soon we'll be back to trying to communicate with grunts.
1 person likes this
@Janey1966 (24126)
• Carlisle, England
31 May 12
Haha! Well said.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Jun 12
i wouldn't be offended because it would be true! i should love 20-30 pounds but every time i have gone to the doctor in the last year nobody has even mentioned it at all and this has surprised me! maybe the doctors in the us are following the uk advice? i don't know if telling people they are fat rather than obese will always work, however. i think if people are fat they know it. nobody needs to tell them or humiliate them into losing weight. this is a personal choice, even though the government may be concerned about it, can the government really regulate personal weightloss? and would they want to do so by bullying the citizens one by one. a very sobering thought...it makes me feel i may need a cookie or something fast.
1 person likes this
@marguicha (103762)
• Chile
31 May 12
What you have told us is absurd. How would a doctor help you if he did not make a diagnosis of your ailment? Being overweight is not healthy. And there are charts that hve to do with your height and bone frames. Why shouldn´t a person say matter of factly what she is? It all depends on who says it and how or why. I´m overweight. Yes. Not too much, but I´d love to have 20 pounds less and be lovely I have cancer (not the big C, not "that terrible illness"). I am not "fighting" it. I am being treated for it as we do with any other illness. I have my chemo as I would a diet if I was on a plan to slim down (which I will start next month).
@Janey1966 (24126)
• Carlisle, England
31 May 12
An inspiration to us all, my friend. I'm glad you say you're not "fighting it" as I find that a strange term..don't know about you. I need to lose weight. I could make the excuse that it's due to my Mirena Coil fitting as it has contraception in it that can cause weight gain..but I would be kidding myself. The weight gain is due to me eating too much and not enough exercise. You see, I knew this without even seeing a doctor! At least I can get out and about with Mum here over the weekend and at hers next week, weather permitting!
@marguicha (103762)
• Chile
1 Jun 12
I have a colon ulcer (I think due to chemo as I didn´t have it before). I know what I shouldn´t eat. The doctor will see me a couple of weeks after my birthday. I asked myself: To eat or not to eat, that is the question. I decided to have a good birthday party, eat and drink as I wished and then do as doctor would say. We know what we should do, but still we have choices.
@marguicha (103762)
• Chile
5 Jun 12
Doctor Didi, I am finished with the chemo and I´m on a follow up for 2 years. I have follicular lymphoma in my upper belly (a good kind of cancer in a bad spot). I have been treated with what is called R-CHOP. Now I have the R (Maphtera) for 2 years, every 3 months. I had a good response to chemo and the lymphoma is on remission. This type has no cure so this is the best it can get. I don´t worry: I´m thinkin about my 3 months of vacation now
@ladygator (3469)
• United States
30 May 12
Janey, I think that those are okay ways of dealing with things. I hate the word obese. Because I dont think that the current methode of making this diagnosis is right. I am considered obese, and it just makes me very discouraged. And with the numbers as high as they are, im like a 53!! But at times I am certain that mine is not as high because of my muscle mass. I am pretty healthy as I walk over 20 miles on most weeks but no matter how many miles I walk I am still fat and obese. I like when my hubby corrects me and calls me thick. :)
@Janey1966 (24126)
• Carlisle, England
31 May 12
When I was at the docs some time ago I got weighed. I asked him what the equivalent weight was in stones and pounds and said, "Oh, about 12 stone." Well, it wasn't 12 stone, more like 13 but he couldn't bring himself to say I was overweight, obese or whatever. I find this more irritating than him actually SAYING it..going all round the houses and not really saying anything. I've also had to deal with my diet myself because he couldn't be bothered giving out advice over that either. This is why there are so many bigger people who haven't taken steps to lose weight..because they haven't been TOLD TO by a doctor, as they are frightened of causing offence. This is silly, in my view and doing away with the words mentioned above won't help them either.
• Omagh, Northern Ireland
31 May 12
"Thick" in Ireland can also be taken as a euphemism for "Stupid"..A comedic radio show had a character describing a person from a Rural Area as a "Soup"... Why a "Soup"?,I hear you ask.. Cos He's a "Thick,Country Vegetable"!
1 person likes this
@ladygator (3469)
• United States
1 Jun 12
lol, Its so interesting how the languages differ coutry to country.
@inertia4 (27750)
• United States
5 Jun 12
For starters I would like to know what word they would use to replace the words Fat and Obese. I think it is ridiculous and makes no sense at all. I think if a doctor said to a patient that they are over weight, fat or obese, that would in fact motivate them into losing some weight. I am not saying that every over weight person is fat because they themselves caused it, it could be a medical condition as well. If you ask any fat person if they want to be fat to like being fat, they will all say the same thing, no. Doctors are there to help not to offend. I think this world is becoming way too politically correct for me.
@Janey1966 (24126)
• Carlisle, England
11 Dec 12
I agree with everything you say there. The whole point of being a doctor (to me at least) is to tell the truth to someone about ANYTHING, whether it be weight, exercise, allsorts of things. No doctor has ever told me I'm overweight, just the weight itself. It was up to me to do something about it. This is wrong. The doctor should've put his serious face on and tell me I'm far too overweight for my size and should change my diet and exercise more. I've done the former but it was down to me, no-one told me to do it. This is why there are so many fat people about because they're in denial over it.
1 person likes this
@inertia4 (27750)
• United States
17 Dec 12
Yes, you're right about that. But in addition to being in denial, there are also there factors going on here. It is also the food we eat. And I am not just talking about junk food. I mean the steroids that are in the meat we consume. It is becoming genetic. And I do believe that doctors owe it to us to tell us the truth about things. Show us a way to change it.
@blue65packer (11835)
• United States
31 May 12
Yes I would be offended and I was by one doctor! I am morbidly obese and when I was told I had edema in my lower legs he went off on me! He went on telling me I was going to get diabities and end up with ulcers on my legs if i didn't lose weight! That made me cry! That ia how upset I was!Well I stopped going to the jerk! I get checked for diabetis regularly. I found out I have acid relux disease and am trying to lose some weight. I know now I need to get off the gaining weight track! I am down like 7 pounds in the past two months. I don't want to lose a great amount but just losing a few pounds is better then nothing! Telling me I am overwieght is no new news! Just don't make me cry!
@Janey1966 (24126)
• Carlisle, England
31 May 12
Don't you think he was doing his job though? I would much prefer a doctor to be open and honest with me than to tell me I'm NOT overweight..that's worse because it makes us stick our heads in the sand and give us an excuse not to do anything about it. I'm glad you have lost 7 pounds. Good for you!
@ElicBxn (60894)
• United States
31 May 12
Maggiepie got those 'static ulcers' on her legs and had to have them wrapped. I had a co-worker show me her legs and asked if I had an idea of what was going on - and I told her they looked the same as Maggie's. Then I had a friend who's legs I just saw and told her to go. I've never had the problem myself, but I did start to have fluid in my feet and that hurt SO BAD I started wearing socks with some support that helped.
@RawBill1 (8542)
• Gold Coast, Australia
31 May 12
The only way to help people is to be honest with them. They are not going to be able to help themselves if they are not aware of the extent of their problems. Honesty (no matter how hard it is to deal with) is always the best policy. Tell it like it is!
@Janey1966 (24126)
• Carlisle, England
31 May 12
You're both right..and maybe this is the reason why there are still so many overweight people out there..because doctors are reluctant to tell them for fear of upsetting them. If someone told me I was a fat cow I'd believe 'em although that would be a bit extreme lol.
@RawBill1 (8542)
• Gold Coast, Australia
1 Jun 12
Yeah, sometimes people need to be shocked into action. It hurts, but hurt is an emotion that can motivate people.
@asliah (11148)
• Philippines
11 Dec 12
hi, if that will happen to me a doctor will say that i am overweight of course i will never feel offended by his/her words because that is true and aside from that it will push me and encourage me to loss weight if someone will say that i am overweight,i will use this to motivate my self that someday you will never say that to me.
@Janey1966 (24126)
• Carlisle, England
11 Dec 12
Hello there and thanks for keeping this discussion alive. Yes, if a doctor told me I was obese or fat it would do the trick. As it stands, I go so far with my diet but don't exercise enough. The doctor knows this but doesn't seem bothered.
@DoctorDidi (7030)
• India
5 Jun 12
I think the MPs should better leave it to the decision of the medical professionals how they would advise the patients to be aware of this problem, by designating it as 'fat' or 'obesity' or anything else. The most important thing is that people would be made aware of it so that they can take measures to get rid of it. It would be more effective if the MPs take initiative on their part to make it a fight against obesity and put all efforts to make it a success, rather than debating over the term to be used for the purpose. I personally believe that it is better to call a spade a spade.
@Janey1966 (24126)
• Carlisle, England
11 Dec 12
Some luxury foods (especially chocolate products) have VAT slapped on them and the government would hate to lose revenue on those. It's a sad fact they love the big 4 supermarket chains!
@GemmaR (8526)
31 May 12
I think that if somebody is having negative health effects on their health because of their weight, then they should be told by a doctor, as this then means that they're going to be able to do something about it and make a better change to their life and overall health as a result of it. There is no point in being "nice" with people who are damaging themselves in this way, as they're then never going to be able to make a difference to the way that they're living. We need to make people realise the damage that they're doing to their own bodies, and if this means upsetting them for a few moments by telling them that they're fat, then I honestly think that this is the best thing that you could possibly do for them.
@Janey1966 (24126)
• Carlisle, England
31 May 12
I couldn't agree more and if the people being TOLD they're overweight or are fat..or whatever..get upset then it's their problem isn't it? I really don't think doctors should feel guilty about telling a patient the truth. I wish my doctor had been a bit more honest with me over my weight issues. I know I've put weight on during the winter-time (puppy fat I suppose you could call it) but I'm not going to sit here and pretend I'm Kate Moss..I'm a LONG way from being Kate Moss but walks with Mum over the weekend and next week will help I'm sure. When I'm on my own (John is at work during the week and just wants to chill out indoors at weekends) the only exercise I get is housework. This isn't good and should be addressed..and it will.
@ElicBxn (60894)
• United States
31 May 12
I am over weight - even obese, actually I'm morbidly obese, but compared to some people, I'm just obese... I think they need to come up with another term for those people who not only weigh, maybe twice what they should, but 3 or more times... maybe just obese for those of us who could lose 100 lbs or so and morbidly obese for those who could lose a whole ME for that matter and still maybe need to lose some weight!
@Janey1966 (24126)
• Carlisle, England
31 May 12
Anything is better than "healthier weight" though as no-one knows what that is. I would say that I'm obese now although my doctor would NEVER tell me this, and this was BEFORE that silly report came out. No doubt he has offended someone in the past telling them they were obese but that's their problem, not his, in my opinion. I just wish he'd been honest with me. That's all I want.
1 person likes this
@ybong007 (6658)
• Philippines
31 May 12
Well, there's always a better way of saying things. I guess I would agree if doctors would use a more pleasant word like obese or overweight instead of the word fat. I guess Fat is just too painful for the ears.
@Janey1966 (24126)
• Carlisle, England
31 May 12
That's just it..doctors won't be able to use the words obese and overweight either..they would have to mention "a healthier weight" instead - whatever that is!
@GardenGerty (104004)
• United States
31 May 12
Some observations, m'dear. Knowing that I do not know beans about the MP's or what they look like, or how intelligent they are. 1. For crying out loud, do the MP's not think that people know they are fat, obese, rotund, overweight, portly and so forth? Knowing this, are they not already low in the category of self esteem? I know I am, and to cheerily say to me, "C'mon girl let's get it down to a healthier weight." is only going to say to me that they do not take my problem seriously. 2. I wonder how many of those that are seeking to soften the language are in denial about their own weight challenges. 3. Being honest about our weight is where we must begin if we are going to reduce. Manipulating the language does not change the facts or the serious health outcomes caused by obesity.
@Janey1966 (24126)
• Carlisle, England
31 May 12
I couldn't agree more. I mean, what on earth IS a "healthier weight?" The word "obese" is used (currently) to let someone know they are severely overweight and should do something NOW to lose that weight. My doctor was actually shirking the issue of telling me I was overweight a while back. I had to tell him I was fat and this is BEFORE that silly report came out. The truth is what we need from doctors and if they are reluctant to tell someone their fat NOW, I dread to think how widespread this is going to be if they're actually refrained from saying those words in the first place. If a doctor told me to get to a "healthier weight" I'd say, "What, you mean I'm obese?" and put him on the spot. I wish people would stop being so sensitive, I really do.
@Jessi_T (380)
• United States
30 May 12
No I would not be offended but I know a lot of people who would. I don't know why, after all a doctor is suppose to be able to help you (Which I am not sure they do) but they are suppose too, a lot of health conditions are brought on my weight. There was several months a go, my husband was saying I was overweight my doctor was suggesting I gain a few more pounds and I felt fine at the weight I was out. I wasn't offended by either statement I just thought both had lost their minds. Then I found out I had lost the weight my doctor wanted me to put back on because I had an illness, later still back in October I had an operation and now I have gained about 25 pounds from the recuperating(bed rest, overeating and being online combination) and I need to get it off. It isn't going to be easy but I know I am somewhat obese. So if my doctor or anyone told me that I would not be offended at all.
@Janey1966 (24126)
• Carlisle, England
31 May 12
Occasionally, though, we have to figure this out all by ourselves (as I have) because the doctor is reluctant to tell me the truth i.e. I'm a fat cow. LOL!
@cher913 (25890)
• Canada
11 Dec 12
well, hopefully, your doctor is concerned about your over all health and so if being overweight is an issue, then of course, he should tell you that. i don't think i would be offended. i have been told by doctors that i need to loose weight at one point and i have done so. i think the term 'overweight' is the nicest term as opposed to the word 'fat'.
@jureathome (5363)
• Philippines
2 Jun 12
I do notice that my doctor seems to avoid using that term. She just advises me to watch my diet as it is increasing steadily, and wasn't very good for me on my 3rd trimester. But, I know that I am overweight, so it doesn't offend me at all, and I appreciate her being tact.
@chiyosan (30205)
• Philippines
2 Jun 12
I was told by my cardiologist that i had to lose weight! ha ha well she did not exactly tell me i was obese, but she told me i was on the heavy side at the time and so in order for me to get better, i should lose at lest 10 pounds. i was 20 pounds overweight.. i appreciated her and her genuine concern.. she was sort off preparing for me to be able to hear her out completely... and i understood that because she only wanted me out of the daily meds... =) and well it helped me and i have tried better in losing weight hence, the habit formed that i am walking at least 30 minutes morning and 30 minutes in the evening. =0
@SIMPLYD (84506)
• Philippines
1 Jun 12
Why would i be offended when he is a doctor who knows how to deal with it? He may have told me that, because we know that being obese would have a lot of complicated ailments if not curbed. And why would they try to create another word to soften the word obese, when it is what you are , as the doctor sees it.
• China
1 Jun 12
I wonder if the MPs had nothing to or most of them are obese.Has someone already come up with the "weight neutral language" ? As I see it,no matter whether fat,obese or obesity,they make no difference.What is important is that tell people who are overweight how to lose weight.I guess some day some people will raise a question about how to say a lean person.
@sharra1 (6342)
• Australia
1 Jun 12
No I would not have a problem because I know I am overweight. In fact I am borderline obese by medical standards. I have no problem with truth and I watch my BMI and so on. What I do have a problem with is being made to feel that I am not trying hard enough to get rid of it. It is not just a matter of motivation. I have an illness that prevents me from exerising so the only way I can lose weight is to reduce my calories to a level that allows weight loss and that is really hard work. It is very hard to cut your calories down to just 1200 a day, that is almost nothing, like 3 sandwiches or a couple of slices of pizza. When I was healthy I lost weight by lots of exercise as well as calorie reduction. The idea being that the exercise allows you to eat more than 1200 calories a day but the net result is 1200. Calories eaten minus exercise calories equals net 1200. When you cannot exercise at a level that allows weight loss then you have a real problem. I think I average between 1400 and 1500 a day and so I lose weight but very slowly. At this rate I might be in a healthy weight zone in a year or 2. Still at least I am trying even if it does not seem so. In Australia docotors tell people they are obese when they have a BMI of 30 or above. No playing with words like fat, obese is a medical description of a certain body weight. I cannot see why anyone would have a problem with it. Obese is a health problem, fat can mean anything. I have seen people calling skinny girls fat because they did not look like they were starving. I would have called the same girls underweight, not fat. Better for them to stick to medical terms.