Engagement between healthcare professionals and with people living with obesity, the importance of language: A joint consensus statement

Albury, Charlotte; Strain, David; Le Brocq, Sarah; Logue, Jennifer and Lloyd, Cathy (2020). Engagement between healthcare professionals and with people living with obesity, the importance of language: A joint consensus statement. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology (In Press).

Abstract

Obesity is a chronic condition that requires long-term management and is associated with unprecedented stigma in different settings, including during interactions with the health care system. This stigma has a negative impact on the mental and physical health of people with obesity and can lead to avoidance of health care and disruption of the doctor-patient relationship. There is significant evidence that simply having a conversation about obesity can lead to weight loss which translates into health benefits, however, both health-care practitioners and people living with obesity alike report apprehension in initiating this conversation.

We have gathered stakeholders from Obesity UK, physicians, dieticians, clinical psychologists, obesity researchers, conversation analysts, nurses, and representatives from NHS England Diabetes and Obesity. This group has contributed to production of this report on how people living with obesity wish to have their condition referred to, and provides practical guidance for health care professionals to facilitate collaborative and supportive discussions about obesity. The expert stakeholders consider that changes to language used at the point of care can act to alleviate the stigma of obesity within the health care system and support better outcomes for both people living with obesity and for the healthcare system.

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