A multidisciplinary approach to the overweight individual: does language matter?
Experts at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora in Brazil have announced the publication of a book on the importance of language with respect to those living with obesity and overweight.
The work, titled ‘A multidisciplinary approach to the overweight individual: does language matter?’, was conceived by professor and endocrinologist Danielle Guedes and is aimed at the developing professionals working in the obesity field.
People living with overweight face not only an increased risk of serious medical complications, but also pervasive and persistent social stigma. Individuals with obesity are often discriminated against in schools and workplaces, and even in health services by health professionals. This discrimination is often based on the belief that obesity and overweight is the result of lifestyle choices and that responsibility lies exclusively with the individual.
Uninformed opinions such as these run contrary to scientific evidence (we know that obesity is a chronic and multifactorial condition), and the educational gap between fact and stigma can reduce or delay access to healthcare for individuals living with overweight and obesity.
The book addresses the need to disseminate robust scientific information, as well as establishing the need for a new approach in the language used by medical professionals and individuals. The approach recommended is one guided by empathy, respect, and a commitment to bringing comprehensive and quality health to the population.
As the title suggests, the work proposes a multidisciplinary approach to the question of language, and as such features contributions from 21 authors working in endocrinology, nutrition, physical education, nursing and psychology.