NHS officials in Scotland have told medical staff not use the word ‘obese’ when to talking to mums and dads about their children.
The new guidance for health, educational and social care professionals also suggest that even the word “overweight” should be carefully used. It claims that ‘unhealthy weight’ is the most appropriate term.
“When talking (to parents) about a child’s weight, never say ‘obese’ and use ‘overweight’ with caution and sensitivity. Best of all is ‘health weight’ or ‘unhealthy weight,” the guidance states.
However, some experts believe that the NHS risk tiptoeing around the serious issue of child obesity.
“Overweight doesn’t convey the severity that obese does. The term obese should bring people up with a shock,” said Tam Fry, chairman of the child Growth Foundation charity, reports Herald Scotland.
Mike Lean, professor of human nutrition at Glasgow University agrees that the word obese is sometimes uncomfortable but the issue of obesity shouldn’t be ignored.
“Children are generally very sensitive to any criticism of their shape, size or form, so I can understand it is an area of sensitivity,” said Mike.
“But if you ignore it…and just keep providing them with bigger and bigger waistbands in their trousers, you have done nobody a service.”
While recent reports show that numbers of dangerously obese children in the UK are increasing, NHS Lincolnshire is taking on the issue by giving pupils “me-sized plates.”
NHS Lincolnshire is giving every child in reception classes at schools in town their own plate to encourage them to have more balanced meals and controlled potion sizes.
“This initative just one of the ways we are working to reverse the trend of overweight and obese children increasing year on year,” said Lynne McNiven, NHS Lincolnshire consultant in public health.
“The me-sized plate encourages parents to think about the amount of food they are giving their child, quite often parents will unknowingly over feed their children by giving them adult portions.”