Being fat is not your fault! Doctors ordered to stop blaming patients for obesity and use “respectful” tone



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Doctors
should avoid blaming patients for being fat, official
guidelines published yesterday say.

The tone used to discuss
obesity should be “respectful” and “non-blaming” to “minimise harm”,
the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence advised.
More than a quarter of adults are
now classified as obese, with 41% or men and 33%
of women overweight.

Professor Mike Kelly, of Nice,
said: “Being overweight can also affect people’s mental health as a result of
stigma and bullying.”
The guidance said professionals
should “be aware of the effort needed to lose weight and avoid further weight
gain and the stigma adults who are overweight or obese may feel or experience”.
It says: “Ensure the tone and
content of all communications or dialogue is respectful and non-blaming.”
Stress should be put on the
“importance of making gradual, long-term changes to their eating habits and
physical activity and how much weight they might realistically expect to lose
in total and on a weekly basis if they adhere to the programme”.
Tam Fry of the National Obesity
Forum added that patients were often in denial about their weight “because, in
our society, obesity has become the norm”.
He adde: “They could say
‘I’m not obese, doctor. Look at all the people around me – I’m the same as
them’.”



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