World Obesity is surveying its members and stakeholders to shape its policy on the use of people-first language
In the English-speaking obesity research community, people-first language has been widely adopted in recent years as a means of reducing the stigma around obesity. As Dr Rebecca Puhl, a leading US expert on weight bias, explains:
“People-first language involves putting people first, rather than labelling them by their disease or disability, and it has become an established standard for respectfully addressing people with diseases or illnesses, including mental illness, diabetes, autism and other chronic diseases. It has been broadly accepted as an important aspect of efforts to reduce disease stigma, but it’s fairly recent to the obesity field […] What this would mean is instead of referring to someone as an “obese” person, we would talk about a person who “has obesity”, or a person “with obesity”, or a person “affected by obesity”. This is becoming an accepted standard by a number of health organisations, as well as research journals.”
More information on people-first language, and its importance in the context of obesity, can be found on this page hosted by the Obesity Action Coalition.
The purpose of this survey is to solicit feedback from our members and stakeholders on the suitability of people-first language to their respective languages (whether it is currently used, and the extent to which it is suitable for their languages if not). This will help to determine our advice on using people-first language in languages other than English.
If more than one language is widely spoken in your country, please answer based on your first language and include answers for the other language(s) in the comments section.