The conclusions of a new survey indicate that parents do not approve of doctors using words such as obese or overweight to describe children who are obese or overweight. Rather, the “adults” would prefer doctors to use terms such as large or “gaining too much weight.”
The same category of no-no terms include fat and chubby, the investigators report. They say that doctors should use the “softer” terms if they want to establish a good base of communication with parents. Apparently, calling things what they really are is too offensive for many.
These findings belong to a study that analyzed the nature of relationships that form between families and health professionals, especially when it comes to treating children. The work was led by scientists at the University of Alberta, in Canada.
UA Department of Pediatrics researcher Geoff Ball, PhD, was the leader of the team. He worked together with colleagues Amanda Newton and Carla Farnesi on analyzing the literature in this field.
Scientists say that this relationship is a sort of delicate balance, which can be positively or negatively affected by a large number of factors. The way parents would like to hear doctors speak about their offspring is one of the most important factor in the group.
“Health professionals probably shouldn’t use terms like fat, chubby, overweight or obese. Terms that are more neutral, less judgmental and less stigmatizing should be used,” says Ball, quoted by PsychCentral
“Most of the time families will want that sensitive type of language. And that’s what clinicians should want, too, because that’s what families want,” he goes on to say.
Many parents said that they felt as if they were blamed for their kids' weight issues. Others said that the doctors were rude, judgmental or inattentive to their problems. One could argue that parents are indeed to blame for their children's diets and their habits. This responsibility cannot be eluded.
Hiding behind euphemisms is a long-standing, evolving trend in the United States, where the majority of people would rather not face the harshness of reality, and be exposed to terms that might actually force them to make a change for the better in their lives.
Referring to an obese child as a child that is “gaining too much weight” is an absolutely ridiculous request, and parents should acknowledge their share of the blame, for not being able to control what their children eat. This does not apply to kids who suffer from hormone dysfunctions or similar conditions.