Experts say that doctors telling obese people they're 'fat' will only put them off from seeking help.
According to the Herald Sun, Harry Hemley, Victorian president of the Australian Medical Association was the lone voice in the debate, saying that calling some overweight and obese people fat could be the nudge they needed to start losing weight.
AdvertisementHe was speaking after UK Health Minister Anne Milton called on the National Health Service to ban terms such as "obese" because they lack emotional impact.
Milton, who stressed she was speaking in a personal capacity, said: "If I look in the mirror and think I am obese I think I am less worried (than) if I think I am fat."
She said too many staff working in the NHS were worried about using the term, but suggested it could help encourage "personal responsibility", according to the BBC.
However, Hemley said it wouldn't work with everybody with the risk of some patients feeling offended which could affect the doctor-patient relationship.
"We want to encourage people to seek help from their GP and other health professionals to lose weight, not stay away because they're scared of being offended," News.com.au quoted Hemley as saying.
Ronald McCoy, spokesman GPs of Royal Australian College said the word fat was rude and insulting, and patients should always be treated with respect.
"Doctors should always bring up the topic of being overweight because it is a major health problem, there's no denying that. But it's no excuse for bad manners," McCoy said.
"If I was rude to patients they would never come back and I'd have no hope of dealing with the problem at all," he added.