Officials at Liverpool City Council
in the United Kingdom have suggested outlawing the word “obese” to avoid stigmatising
Up to half of 11 year-old boys and
40 per cent of 11 year-old girls are overweight in Liverpool, which has one of
the highest childhood obesity rates in Britain, while one in 20 is classed as
The plans were inspired by
suggestions made at a “Schools Parliament” made up of 9-11 year-olds.
According to the council, the word
obese has “too many negative connotations” and discourages overweight
youngsters from adopting healthy eating and exercise.
However, heath campaigners warned
that censorship of the word would obscure a serious issue.
Sion Porter of the British Dietetic
Association, said: “To a dietician or health professional, obese is a
clear label for an individual with a Body Mass Index in excess of 30. BMI
remains the best indicator of a person’s weight level, and includes the terms
‘overweight’ and ‘obese’.
“Clearly an individual who
reaches the ‘obese’ category is risking serious health problems, and needs to
understand the severity of their weight-problem.”
The proposal could be adopted as
part of an official strategy to tackle childhood obesity in Liverpool and
“unhealthy weight” would be used in future health promotion
literature aimed at children.