Psychologists Suggest We Start Saying 'People Living With Obesity' Instead Of 'Obese People'
There's no denying that obesity is a big problem in the world.
As many people battle the bulge, which is a psychological task as well as a physical one, we're being asked to consider the way we talk about people with the condition.
While most of us would call someone obese if they exhibited that characteristic, psychologists think we need to reshape our phrasing because it's not as simple as many would think.
According to a new report from the British Psychological Society, we should now say 'people with obesity' or 'people living with obesity' instead of 'obese people'.
The thinking goes that obesity isn't just due to a lack of willpower to lose the weight and is instead the result of genetics, responses to stress from childhood, a sedentary lifestyle and lack of access to good, quality food, whether that be through proximity or financial.
"Obesity is not simply down to an individual's lack of willpower," the report said.
"The people who are most likely to be an unhealthy weight are those who have a high genetic risk of developing obesity and whose lives are also shaped by work, school and social environments that promote overeating and inactivity.
"People who live in deprived areas often experience high levels of stress, including major life challenges and trauma, often their neighbourhoods offer few opportunities and incentives for physical activity and options for accessing affordable healthy food are limited.
"Psychological experiences also play a big role - up to half of adults attending specialist obesity services have experienced childhood adversity.
"Whilst obesity is caused by behaviour, those behaviours do not always involve 'choice' or 'personal responsibility'."
The report is recommending the British government should attack the problem in the same way as it did with smoking.
According to the World Health Organisation, the number of people with obesity has tripled since 1975, with around 650 million people listed in that category. It says obesity is a person with a Body Mass Index greater than or equal to 30.
"BMI provides the most useful population-level measure of overweight and obesity as it is the same for both sexes and for all ages of adults," the WHO says.
"However, it should be considered a rough guide because it may not correspond to the same degree of fatness in different individuals."
On the broader spectrum, the WHO figures suggest around 1.9 billion adults were overweight in 2016.
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