Language to Use When Referring to an Overweight Child

If the body mass index of a child is at the 95th percentile or above, the electronic medical records term this child as obese. According to an assistant professor at the University of Texas Dell Medical School Dr. Stephen J. Pont, it is worth noting that blame and guilt do not motivate someone to lose weight. They only serve to make people feel bad about themselves, and in turn, people become even less motivated to lead a healthy life. In a statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Obesity Society that was published on the journal Pediatrics, pediatricians are advised against using harsh words like obese or fat and in turn, use neutral words such as body mass index and weight. They went ahead to suggest that we put the child ahead of the condition when we communicate. For instance, it is better to refer to a child with excess weight rather than an overweight child.

The journal recommended that the attitude and procedures used by the medical practices be looked into to ensure that no bias is built against children who have excess weight. Every person was advised to advocate against any form of stigmatization in the society. According to Rebecca Puhl a clinical psychologist, weight, and its health effect have been given much attention that both the social and emotional part has been left out. She went on to say that most of the time, kids are bullied by others because of their weight, and as a result, their mental health and self-esteem are interfered with. With all these stress, the children’s eating behavior may be affected, and as a result, they may end up gaining even more weight.

When adolescents are teased based on their weight, there is a possibility that the child will become obese in the future, since they will eat a lot of food trying to cope up with emotions. A study revealed that women who were teased by their family and peers in their adolescent are associated with poor body image, obesity, eating much, close to 15 years later. According to research, two out of three adolescents in weight-loss camps said that they were bullied about their weight by their peers for over 90 percent of the time. The head of the pediatric obesity program at Bellevue Hospital says that it is wrong for a parent to keep telling his/her child of how “fat “he or she is.