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Council to ban the word 'obesity' - so fat children don't get offended



By Jaya Narain

Last updated at 11:57 AM on 12th April 2010




The word 'obese' could be banned in case it offends fat children (file photo)



In an age of widespread political correctness almost any term can be deemed to offend someone at some time.

But one council has been condemned after it announced it would consider banning the word 'obese' because it could offend fat children.

Town hall bosses want to want to replace it with the phrase 'unhealthy weight' so children are not stigmatised.

The move has caused fury among parents and anti-obesity campaigners who have branded the scheme ' preposterous and laughable.'

But health campaigners say they are concerned it will lead to the issue of obese children not being taken seriously enough.

The proposal was made by a group of 90 schoolchildren taking part in the Liverpool Schools' Parliament when the council asked them to come up with a variety of ideas as part of its Children and Young People’s Plan (CYPP).

Now Liverpool Council will formally consider the proposal to drop the word from all local authority schemes and strategies aimed at improving the health of children.

Tam Fry of the obesity prevention charity the Child Growth Foundation, said: 'If you’re obese you’re obese. 'I can see where the children are coming from and the word carries a stigmatisation but unfortunately some times schoolchildren have to be taught the realities of life.

Mr Fry, whose charity campaign for more measures to combat obesity in children, said: 'If you have a problem, particularly when it’s as serious as this, it needs addressing.'

One Merseyside father said: 'My two children are normal weight and being an overweight child does have a stigma - but that is the whole point.



Banned? Liverpool Council are considering using 'unhealthy weight' as an alternative phrase


'Eating unhealthy food and not taking part in physical activity should be stigmatised so that children live a healthy, active life.

'What next? Are we going to destigmatise the idea that they don't do their school work so they can just play video games instead?'

A mother said: 'My 12-year-old daughter is tackling her own slight weight problem by improving her diet, joining a gym and taking part in sports at school and her main motivation for her drive to be slimmer and healthier is that she is not seen as fat by her school friends.'

Liverpool Council will consider the plans as part of scheme to examine the key priorities and ways to improve the lives of young people over the next two years.

Explaining the group’s recommendation, Jeff Dunn, co-ordinator of the Liverpool Schools’ Parliament, 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 council spokesman said: 'All the young people’s recommendations will be considered by the council with a view to include them in the delivery of the Children and Yound People's Plan.'

Other recommendations include appointing classmates and city sport stars as 'food heroes' to promote healthy living within schools.

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