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A recent study found that many doctors are reluctant to label fat kids as obese, preferring instead to use less-serious euphemisms such as “at risk for overweight” or “overweight.” The reason? Doctors’ concerns over self-esteem: Calling fat kids obese may hurt their feelings.
This trend has helped fuel an obesity epidemic among children, about one in three of whom is overweight and one in five of whom is clinically obese. One result: The incidence of juvenile diabetes has skyrocketed over the past ten years.
The study recommended that pediatricians and other doctors be more honest and direct about the child’s weight and its consequences. No one should be criticized for being overweight, but ignoring (or accepting) obesity out of courtesy is both misguided and dangerous.