Posts Tagged ‘people-first language’

Regarding a Person as More Than a Diagnosis

June 7, 2022 — Just about any medical diagnosis can be a bit dehumanizing. Even more so when a medical professional takes it a step further and explicitly labels a person with their diagnosis. For most diseases, health professionals have long understood that labeling people in this way – as an “epileptic,” for example – is bad form. But […]

The COVID-19 “Imperative” to Tackle Obesity

April 19, 2020 — As it dawns on people that obesity really is an important risk factor for severe illness with COVID-19, we’re seeing more talk about taking obesity seriously. This is a mixed blessing. On one hand, taking obesity seriously as a medical condition really would be helpful. But on the other hand, talk about the “imperative” to […]

Dodging Obesity: Euphemisms Don’t Help

September 29, 2018 — The language of obesity is a tricky business. Nobody likes being called obese. But it doesn’t stop there. Common wisdom tells clinicians to be very careful about the O-word in any form. Obesity clinics don’t tend to have long lines of patients waiting at the door. Weight management clinics attract more clients. However, new research […]

People-First Language: Preferences and Aversions

September 15, 2018 — Language unites us and divides us. Certainly, this is true for the language of obesity. A new study in JAMA Surgery tells us that patients seeking bariatric surgery don’t like people calling them fat. Nor do they like people calling them obese. Instead, they give higher marks to the language of having a high BMI […]

Obese, Demented, and Eaten Up with Cancer

August 29, 2018 — Respectful language is quite a challenge these days. Especially when language touches on issues of stigma and identity, it’s easy to offend people. So it’s no surprise that the language attached to obesity is a sensitive subject. And one thing is certain. “Obese” is a label that nobody likes. “Demented” or “eaten up with cancer” […]

Wrestling with the Delicate Language of Obesity

December 11, 2017 — Maybe it’s progress. Five years ago social media was full of explicitly hateful fat-shaming content. More often than not, complaints fell on deaf ears. But Friday, we learned that Google now considers merely asking about the word fat to be distasteful and offensive. Google Surveys will no longer ask people what they think about the […]

The Language of Respect in Health and Wellness

August 6, 2017 — More and more, respectful language in health and wellness puts people first. Now, the new edition of the AP Stylebook includes guidance on writing about addiction that advises writers to use people-first language. Addiction is a disease. AP cautions against labeling people as addicts, alcoholics, users, and abusers. Language for Writing About Chronic Diseases This […]

Offensive Words to Grab Attention and Block Progress

June 30, 2017 — When words start spilling from the mouths of toddlers, parents get a thrill. The thrill turns to a bit of panic when an offensive word spills out. The toddler gets attention. Parents find themselves on a long road of teaching by example. Offensive words certainly grab attention, but then they just get in the way. […]

AMA Stands for Respecting Patients with Obesity

June 14, 2017 — Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association House of Delegates, AMA stood up for respecting patients with obesity. AMA resolved to encourage respectful language and respectful accommodations in patient care for people with obesity. Obesity Action Coalition President and CEO Joe Nadglowski praised this action, saying: This news is important. AMA has […]

Hope for Understanding Obesity?

September 27, 2016 — Getting discouraged about deep public misunderstanding of obesity is way too easy. So waking up to two thoughtful reports in top tier news media – the New York Times and The New Yorker – was a pleasant surprise yesterday. Good reporting can lead to better understanding obesity. First, Gina Kolata wrote a lengthy article in the Times […]