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Old 04-14-2010, 12:39 PM   #1
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Default Children pushing to outlaw the word obese in the UK

a group of children in the UK would like the word obese outlawed in their community because they find the word stigmatizing discouraging and offensive.

this is all mixed in with other issues because its a morning show but an interesting discussion if you have the time.

BBC UK discussion Emma Britton with international size acceptance advocate Fatima Parker and others: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...on_14_04_2010/
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:42 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by superodalisque View Post
a group of children in the UK would like the word obese outlawed in their community because they find the word stigmatizing discouraging and offensive.

BBC UK discussion Emma Britton with international size acceptance advocate Fatima Parker and others: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...on_14_04_2010/
Because it's a medical term- is that even possible? Im not defending--words don't hurt me but I'm very curious about modern censorship in the UK.....
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:59 PM   #3
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i'm not sure of the particulars and i want to look for more information. it seems that the children attach the meaning to being unhealthy and being morbidly obese and impending death. they also seem to feel it gives people the ammunition to abuse them with health as an excuse which might be a trigger to eating disorders. they think softer words should be used for children like fat or chubby or chunky or something more encouraging to exercise and healthy eating instead of making them less likely to take part in healthy activities. they are worried that the word had more of a potential scaring or traumatizing children into a different behavior. they want the word left off public literature pertaining to children. the interviewer spoke of people who are not in medicine using a clinical medical term to categorize people. so maybe they want the term reserved for experts? i don't think they want their opinion forced down people's throat. but i think perhaps they want an overall agreement to perhaps limit the use to the word to a qualified medical environment? however they want their request taken they've got an interesting discussion going about how weight should be approached and the bullying often attached to the term obesity. i think its a really great discussion in view of the attention given to it lately.
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:11 PM   #4
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here is an part of an article in the telegraph that explains the official aims: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/he...-children.html

Liverpool City Council believes the expression could stigmatise youngsters and wants to replace it with the phrase “unhealthy weight”.
If the idea goes ahead, the words “obese” and "obesity" would be dropped from all schemes and strategies aimed at improving children’s diets and health.
However, the plans have been opposed by anti-obesity campaigners who are concerned the new term could lead to the issue being trivialised.
Tam Fry, chair of the obesity prevention charity the Child Growth Foundation, said: “If you’re obese you’re obese.
“The word carries a stigmatisation but unfortunately some times schoolchildren have to be taught the realities of life.
“If you have a problem, particularly when it’s as serious as this, it needs addressing.”
The council is formally considering the plan after it was put forward by 90 members of Liverpool Schools’ Parliament (LSP) when asked to identify ways to improve the lives of youngsters in the area.
Jeff Dunn, co-ordinator of LSP, said: “The idea is that obesity has a negative connotation behind it.
“They felt unhealthy weight is more positive and a better way to promote it. The term ‘obese’ would turn people off, particularly young people.”
A Liverpool City Council spokesman confirmed that the recommendations are under consideration. The council is expected to give the plan the go-ahead next month.
Other plans include appointing classmates and sport stars from the city as “food heroes” to promote healthy eating in schools.
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:28 PM   #5
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It was derision and ridicule and a total disregard for my humanity that devastated me as a child. The words were interchangeable, rotational, and could be quite creative (for example, I carried the nickname Jupiter for many years).

While I agree it's a worthwhile debate perhaps more should be done about bullying in general rather than a specific term although those kids have my respect for organizing in the first place.
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:39 PM   #6
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I carried the nickname Jupiter for many years.
Surely 'Juno' would have been more appropriate. You strike me as the Queen of Heaven type.
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:48 PM   #7
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Surely 'Juno' would have been more appropriate. You strike me as the Queen of Heaven type.
Bless your heart. If only Rubens was alive today. Hell, I'd pose for Botero.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:44 PM   #8
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a group of children in the UK would like the word obese outlawed in their community because they find the word stigmatizing discouraging and offensive.

this is all mixed in with other issues because its a morning show but an interesting discussion if you have the time.

BBC UK discussion Emma Britton with international size acceptance advocate Fatima Parker and others: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...on_14_04_2010/
I listened to the first 25 minutes and was kinda put off by the fact that they prefer the term "unhealthy weight." That just seems worse since you can be unhealthy and thin too.
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Old 04-14-2010, 06:37 PM   #9
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I listened to the first 25 minutes and was kinda put off by the fact that they prefer the term "unhealthy weight." That just seems worse since you can be unhealthy and thin too.
that is problematic. unhealthy weight for whom? i do have a problem with unhealthy eating and lack of exercise being associated with all fat people. they did address that later in the program a little but it was glossed over. i think the real problem is people have no idea about who is healthy and who is unhealthy just by looking at them. and they need to stop making determinations like that if they aren't a doctor doing an exam. like you said, if health were not associated with weight at all it would make more sense because anyone of any weight can be healthy or unhealth . so in terms of health it really is size descrimmination to automatically assume an individual fat person must be deathly unhealthy or unhealthy on any level at all.

one problem that people aren't addressing especially in the US is that the problem with ill health might not be so much how we eat as the additives we ingest. i'm really worried about what genetically engineered foods are doing to us. hormones are added to milk. produce is developed to produce their own insecticides. after all, the generation who ate butter steaks and icecream etc... without guilt are living longer than any generation ever has. what is the real difference between them and the following generations? i think its at the very least partially the effects of chemicals and biologically engineered foods we don't fully know the effects of. for washington and other public entities its easier to blame the issue on our expanding waistlines than it is to face down big wealthy agri-chemical companies who are having a huge impact on changing how our food is produced. if you're fat its harder for you to convince people that you are being slowly poisoned. so for them it pays to keep the myth going.
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:09 PM   #10
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that is problematic. unhealthy weight for whom? i do have a problem with unhealthy eating and lack of exercise being associated with all fat people. they did address that later in the program a little but it was glossed over. i think the real problem is people have no idea about who is healthy and who is unhealthy just by looking at them. and they need to stop making determinations like that if they aren't a doctor doing an exam. like you said, if health were not associated with weight at all it would make more sense because anyone of any weight can be healthy or unhealth . so in terms of health it really is size descrimmination to automatically assume an individual fat person must be deathly unhealthy or unhealthy on any level at all.

one problem that people aren't addressing especially in the US is that the problem with ill health might not be so much how we eat as the additives we ingest. i'm really worried about what genetically engineered foods are doing to us. hormones are added to milk. produce is developed to produce their own insecticides. after all, the generation who ate butter steaks and icecream etc... without guilt are living longer than any generation ever has. what is the real difference between them and the following generations? i think its at the very least partially the effects of chemicals and biologically engineered foods we don't fully know the effects of. for washington and other public entities its easier to blame the issue on our expanding waistlines than it is to face down big wealthy agri-chemical companies who are having a huge impact on changing how our food is produced. if you're fat its harder for you to convince people that you are being slowly poisoned. so for them it pays to keep the myth going.
Yes, exactly!
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:11 PM   #11
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It's not the words that are the problem.. it's the attitude behind them. Outlawing a word will do nothing to change that.
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:24 PM   #12
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It's not the words that are the problem.. it's the attitude behind them. Outlawing a word will do nothing to change that.
Very sensible. If they do outlaw the word obese, then all the negative attributes of that word will only manifest in another.
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Old 04-15-2010, 07:29 AM   #13
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Exactly. Plus I honestly think it makes "us" (those who believe in SA) look whiny and even petty. There are way more important battles to fight.
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:38 AM   #14
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I believe that obesity in children is still something that we should be somewhat concerned about. If only because parents and society in general should be concerned when a disease like diabetes goes from being diagnosed mostly in senior citizens to a mid life disease, and now the numbers of twenty year old college students who are dealing with it are growing. Obesity is only one indicator, but it can be powerful indicator since we know that there is a correlation between the genes and hormones that make us gain more easily and the processes that make us insulin resistant. I for one don't want to see a generation of obese children become a group of insulin resistant adults that die young and horribly because there's simply nothing to be done for them.

On the other hand, because of the stigma attached to obesity I don't think it's fair to attach the label to a child who may or may not become an unhealthy obese adult. It feels akin to giving up on them being healthy, and happy adults because labeling a child means that they and their parents are more likely to just accept the weight in the most negative way possible and give up on the idea of being healthy.

Do I think things like fast food should be ripped off of school menus? Yes
Do I think we need to get serious about putting day to day easy to apply nutrition tips into curriculum from pre-k to HS? absolutely
Do I think it will be 100% effective? No, but putting simple information out there for kids can be educational as well as good for them. Asking "Do you know what Disodium hydrogen phosphate is? why it's in your food? what else it's used for and why it may not be good for you?" can be the start of helping them to know more about their own bodies than we did at that age.

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Old 04-15-2010, 05:40 PM   #15
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I fucking hate that word, it's an ugly ugly word--Obese. It just drips with hatred.
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Old 04-15-2010, 08:57 PM   #16
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I prefer words like fluffy, you know, cheerful words
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:07 PM   #17
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Words don't bother me. The sentiment behind them does.
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Old 04-15-2010, 11:19 PM   #18
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Words don't bother me. The sentiment behind them does.
word word word word.
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Old 04-16-2010, 01:01 PM   #19
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the word doesn't bother me personally because i don't take that kind of stuff in. but, i do have empathy for children and their take on it. and it does piss me off that people who know nothing about health are using it to frighten and traumatize them. i was encouraged by the fact that they didn't seem to find that the word fat, chunky, pudgy etc... hurt them as much.

IMO i think the word obesity gives people the excuse to hide their fat hatred behind a veil of "concern" about our health. we all know the types. many of us have them in our own family. its interesting how the same people don't care if we engage in health risking activities like taking amphetamine based diet aids that damage our hearts--such as Fen Fen or high risk surgery when its not necessary. a lot of the same people do drugs, drink, drunk drive and smoke even around their children. but somehow that doesn't seem to be a problem for them. hey, if a fat person is endangering someone's health its only thier own. at least if we are in that position we aren't putting everyone else we come into contact with in some kind of danger. we know this is all really mainly about what we look like. and thats why actually assessing our health is not a concern with people like that. if people really cared about a fat person's health they'd have that health analyzed by a professional before judgements were cast. sometimes i get the sneaking suspicion that they don't do that because deep down they know that many of us are not in bad health. if that were not true then what could they justify hanging all of their prejudice on?

i'm encouraged that a lot of doctors are now stepping away publicly from the idea that fat always means someone is unhealthy. they are realizing the misery its creating. i think they get it that other people who are unqualified use they word and the seeming authority behind it to judge and bully fat people and diminish their self esteem to a point that they give up on taking care of their health and going to the doctor. a lot of fat people enjoy swimming and exercise--the very thing that helps us. why aren't they out doing it more? only because of all of the crazily abusive people they have to face everyday. who is to say that a lot of our health problems don't have a huge component of the affects of the depresssion many people suffer from feeling embattled over being fat all of the time? the effects of depression on health has much better documentation that the effects of fat on health.

i do agree that any word can express hatred. but maybe we are a bit more able to demystify words like fat and chunky because they only express what we look like--which does not have to be bad or unhealthy? but there is really no way to demystify obesity especially with the word morbid people often like to attach to it. maybe disallowing the use of the word in an organized sense by people in authority who really are not qualified to assess health, might draw a line somewhere about the personal judgements people can make about us as individuals? i'm not sure. but i was pleased that an entire community is at least thinking sensitively about what the impact of what they say to fat children is doing to them. who knows if it would help. it would be interesting to see. i think, like Olwen said, it would depend a lot on whether they could reclassify "unhealthy weight" as unhealthy eating for everyone, since weight does not equal health independently.
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Old 04-16-2010, 01:14 PM   #20
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It's not the words that are the problem.. it's the attitude behind them. Outlawing a word will do nothing to change that.
i don't know about that. There's a great deal of power in naming.

i'm not suggesting that all problems will go away because of the presence, or lack of, a specific word, but...well...semantics!
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Old 04-16-2010, 01:26 PM   #21
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i don't know about that. There's a great deal of power in naming.

i'm not suggesting that all problems will go away because of the presence, or lack of, a specific word, but...well...semantics!
exactly, words have a creative ability. especially with naive children--they internalize that crap. it makes you wonder what it does to someone when you tell them they are going to get sick and die just because they are fat. i think we can all remember when we were young and people were acting as though we were so huge, and sometimes we felt huge. then when you look back on your photos as an adult you find you weren't large at all. it was just someone pushing their fat phobia into your psyche. people sensitive to that were made miserable for absolutely no reason at all.

i remember once one of my nephews went to spend the weekend with one of our relatives who has a serious issue with body image. she is older and a little pudgy. he was a very slim ( by anyone's standard) 8 yr old boy. she told him that he was getting fat and he needed to be careful about what he ate. he was vey disturbed and talked to me about it when he came home. i took him to the doctor for his annual well child visit a few weeks later. the doctor had to go as far as calculating his BMI for him and showing him that he was actually a bit under the suggested weight on the chart. how many more children are crazy adults doing this stuff to with only their mouth as a weapon against the innocent and impressionable? adults know people like that are crazy but children don't.

maybe we need to start shaming people about what they say to fat children and have institutions behind us saying that this is not an appropriate way to talk to people. they have to know its not acceptable to work out their own personal frustrations easily on someone they feel can't defend themselves. maybe telling them publicly in front of everyone that their words have a demoralizing effect and are even counter productive to the very aims they claim they have would put a sock in some of it. its not the same thing exactly, but in the 70s a new social consciousness came about. one of the main things it did was shame people who were verbally abusive and disrespectful of the humanity of people with disabilities, people who had addictions and people who had been victims of rape and incest. somehow fat was over looked. maybe we need to go back and humanize fat to people so that they know they are required to respect the person behind it more often.
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Old 04-17-2010, 10:54 AM   #22
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Yeah, but if the anti-fat attitude persists (which it will), you don't think they'll come up with a different word for it? And if (when) they do, what will you do then? Outlaw that word? Then what..?
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Old 04-17-2010, 11:01 AM   #23
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Yeah, but if the anti-fat attitude persists (which it will), you don't think they'll come up with a different word for it? And if (when) they do, what will you do then? Outlaw that word? Then what..?
It is both the word and the meaning behind it. The problem I have with the word "obese" is that it has long been used as a medical/scientific term, which seems to me to give it more power than some other word would. That it is a medical term makes it more legitimate in the eyes of most people and therefore scarier. Obese means "death fat," yet we aren't prone to say that. If we did it would scare people even more I think. I prefer the word "fat" myself.
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Old 04-17-2010, 04:32 PM   #24
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Haters gonna hate. Get rind of one word, another will show up to take its place.
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Old 04-17-2010, 06:18 PM   #25
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Haters gonna hate. Get rind of one word, another will show up to take its place.
All excellent points, but I have to stick with this one. If all the bad words are banned, hateful people will only create new ones. Educate children on bullying-- that THAT is what is truly unacceptable. Why aren't fat people accepted as part of our great diversity?
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