Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Name-Calling . . . Finger Pointing

What’s in a name? Maybe more than you think. Whether simply vocabulary or semantics, names can carry a lot of weight. And with this segue . . . there’s been a lot of finger pointing and name calling lately. And much of it has to do with obesity (childhood and adult) and who’s responsible for the growing epidemic, and how we should label it, and how best to address it . . . and the issues multiply and gain a momentum of their own. It’s the answers that are hard to come by (although LoneStart Wellness offers a pretty good one).

But back to names—and labels, because while we talk about complex issues, we’re also talking about descriptions, and facts. So, we’re also talking about the wording of those facts. And, we’re definitely talking about highly emotional issues.

It seems as if recently there has been much discussion over the terms “obese”“fat.” How should we refer to people who are overweight—fat, obese, plus size? Do fat and obese mean the same thing? Is one term more descriptive, or more correct than the other? Is “obese” more of a clinical or medical term that can be measured? Is “fat” unkind, or simply a statement of fact? Is it “in your face” and meant to create an emotional impact? Is one better than the other? Well, we’re asking the question, but we don’t have the answer. And to complicate the issue further . . . and

How about those who are clinically underweight—skinny, anorexic, walking skeleton, model? Fat, skinny, obese, anorexic. We’re talking about extremes, and the focus should be on health and wellness.

Aren’t we really looking for healthier lifestyle behaviors? Maybe we should focus more on the solutions to acquire those behaviors than on what to call those looking for solutions. Maybe we should focus on what constitutes better behavior, and the fact that with the right information, support and motivation people can and will change their at risk behaviors. Isn’t that what we’re after?

Overweight, obese, fat or thin, whatever label you give it, the important thing is for people to know when they’re at risk. Check your BMI here. Where do you fall? Where do you want to go? We’d like your input.

No comments: