‘Don’t say pig out or wolf it down, it makes obese people feel like animals’
THE phrase ‘ pig out’ is no longer acceptable because it makes obese people feel like animals, dietitians say.
And talking of a ‘war on obesity’ should also be avoided as it makes the overweight feel like the enemy, according to the British Dietetic Association (BDA).
Obese people should be referred to as ‘individuals with higher weight’, say guidelines, which take aim at ‘stigmatising’ language that ‘dehumanises’ overeaters.
The authors caution against the use of phrases such ‘pig out’, ‘eating like a horse’ or ‘wolfing down dinner’ which, they claim, may make people feel like animals.
Dr Adrian Brown, of the Centre of Obesity Research at University College London, who helped draw up the guidelines, has even expressed concerns about terms such as ‘chubby’ and ‘morbidly obese’.
Critics last night lambasted the ‘ ridiculous’ guidelines issued to all BDA members. Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said: ‘In producing “balanced guidelines” for their in-house communications, the authors have taken medical correctness to a slightly ridiculous level.
‘As health professionals, dietitians should never use language that anyone might deem offensive but to state that an obese person is an “individual with higher weight” beggars belief.’
Lee Monks, of the Plain English Campaign, said that the phrase seems ‘convoluted and fussy’, while pig out is a ‘readily understood term for eating too much’.
The guidelines, published at the end of last year, warn that shaming people about weight can mean they avoid seeking medical care. The term ‘obesity crisis’ is vetoed – despite figures showing almost two-thirds of people in the UK are overweight or obese, which raises the risk of health problems including type 2 diabetes.
Dr Brown argued: ‘We should stop blaming people for their weight in a society where there is highly accessible cheap and calorific food which our brains are attracted to.’
He added that weight discrimination is seen everywhere, particularly on TV, with characters such as Daddy Pig from children’s cartoon series Peppa Pig.