Doctors urged to avoid non-medical terms like 'chunky' when talking to obese ...

Doctors have been urged to avoid using 'judgemental', 'threatening' or non-medical terms such as 'chunky' when treating obese patients.  

A new language guide from the charity Obesity UK says the way clinicians talk to obese or overweight patients can have a profound impact, leading to stigma and discrimination.

In the report, one patient describes their humiliating experience of a doctor grabbing their belly fat and 'jiggling' it during an appointment.  

A new language guide from the charity Obesity UK has urged doctors to avoid using 'judgemental' or non-medical terms such as 'chunky' when treating obese or overweight patients

A new language guide from the charity Obesity UK has urged doctors to avoid using 'judgemental' or non-medical terms such as 'chunky' when treating obese or overweight patients

The patient, who was at the doctor’s to discuss suspected endometriosis, was being examined on the table and was stripped naked from the waist down.

They recalled how, 'the doctor grabbed a handful of my belly fat, jiggled it about and announced to the nurse, "she needs to get rid of THIS first".'     

Another patient who went to the doctor with chest pains was told to ‘go home and look in the mirror as that was what was wrong with [them]’ - instead of being treated. 

Later that night, they were rushed to hospital as they couldn't breathe and were diagnosed with bronchitis. 

The charity, Obesity UK, says they hear on a daily basis how badly people living with obesity are spoken to and treated. 

Their guide, Language Matters: Obesity, is aimed at doctors to help them use more appropriate and helpful language when interacting with patients with obesity. 

It outlines examples to doctors of what to avoid saying, and what to try instead.   

The guidance says doctors should avoid using 'threatening' phrases such as telling patients: 'If you don't lose weight you will end up with your leg chopped off, or just plain dead.' 

One patient in the report described their humiliating experience of a doctor grabbing their belly fat and 'jiggling' it during an appointment

One patient in the report described their humiliating experience of a doctor grabbing their belly fat and 'jiggling' it during an appointment 

It urges doctors to avoid 'using non-clinical terms, which can be disrespectful, judgemental and inappropriate' such as: 'You're a bit on the chunky side, shall we say.'

Instead it suggests that

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