Living Fit Mommy: The Semantics of “Obesity”

It seems to me that people are becoming a bit too technical about a term that has essentially become a means for some people to be made eligible for weight loss surgery.

In the fitness realm, the term “obesity” refers to anyone with a Body Mass Index (BMI) above 30, but in the mainstream, that same term, has developed a negative connotation–or at least that’s what being said.

“Most people who are in the category of obesity really dislike that term. When they hear it, they don’t think, ‘Body mass index is greater than 30.’ Instead they hear ‘lazy,’ ‘no-self control,’ and all of these negative terms,” says board-certified bariatric physician Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D., co-founder of bistroMD, a national weight-loss company. “Sometimes when you tell a patient they are in the ‘obese range’, they might get insulted and not hear anything afterward.”

Okay, here’s my problem with the above notion: I’m not a coddler. I’m into calling a spade a spade, if you catch my drift, and as such, I’m not willing to sugar coat a potentially life-threatening disease simply because an individual is choosing not to live in reality and take responsibility for their part in the problem.

And while I don’t advocate the “Jillian Michaels” school of thought (I’m certainly not trying to make a person feel like shit in order to force them into a healthier lifestyle), I do think you have to make it clear to an that obesity is a serious matter, warranting a great degree of their attention. If you don’t, then I think you’re doing a disservice to that person. Period.

Obesity is considered a disease–although I personally see it as a lifestyle choice in a majority of cases–so it’s high time people stop obsessing over terminology and start doing something that invokes a change, because worrying about semantics could very well kill you.

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