NHS Health Scotland have issued new guidance that says medical staff and health experts should not use the term obese and overweight when talking about children to their parents. They are promoting the change in terminology as it is felt such terms are resulting in parents feeling blamed or stigmatised, and that they were too medical.
The new recommendations on health, education and social care claim that the term unhealthy weight is better than using the word overweight, which should only be used with caution. The NHS guidance points out “When talking [to parents] about a child’s weight, never say ‘obese’ and use ‘overweight’ with caution and sensitivity. Best of all is ‘healthy weight’ or ‘unhealthy weight’.”
However, Tam Fry, honorary chairman of the Child Growth Foundation charity, argued “By the time you get to school you are really going to have to be serious about a proper description for a state of weight which is definitely unhealthy. You need to be able to say to somebody: look, things have got so bad that your child is obese.”
The news comes after Anne Milto, the UK Public Health minister, sparked controversy in 2010 by stating that health professionals should tell patients that they were fat rather than using the term obese. It is thought that around a third of Scottish children aged between 13 and 15 are overweight, while a tenth are obese.

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