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Patients prefer the word “weight” to “fatness”
Friday, September 12, 2003 9:51 am Email this article
Obese women greatly prefer the term "weight" to "fatness" according to a new study from Thomas A. Wadden from Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Elizabeth Didie from the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Penn.
The word “fatness” was rated “very undesirable” by obese women. They also said that the terms “excess fat”, “obesity” and “large size” were “undesirable”.
Terms that they preferred instead that were “weight”, “heaviness”, “BMI”, “excess weight”, “unhealthy body weight”, “weight problem”, and “unhealthy BMI”.
Results were similar for obese men and very obese women.
The authors concluded that “Practitioners may wish to avoid the use of potentially derogatory terms such as fatness and obesity when broaching the topic of weight management with patients.”
The study surveyed 167 obese women and 52 men with an average body mass index (BMI) of 35 who were involved in one of two randomized trials on the treatment of obesity, and an additional 105 extremely obese women with an average BMI of 52 who were looking for bariatric surgery.
Wadden TA, Didie E. What’s in a name? patients’ preferred terms for describing obesity. Obes Res. 2003 Sep, 11(9):1140-46.
Address correspondence to:
Thomas A. Wadden
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry
3535 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
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