Public health minister Anne Milton has suggested that doctors should call overweight patients fat rather than obese.
Her thinking is that if GPs start using the ’F’ word when talking to patients it’s more likely to motivate them to lose weight.
Her straight-talking words follow the announcement that ministers wish to place the emphasis on consumers taking more responsibility for their health.
Obesity presents a significant health risk, with overweight individuals more likely to suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes and other life-threatening conditions.
This means that taking out protection products is more costly for them. People with a body mass index of more than 30 are classed as obese so they struggle to get a competitive rate for life and critical illness cover, but it’s these people who need protection more than most.
The Department of Health predicts that the number of obese men will increase to more than six million this year.
So isn’t it time people took their health more seriously? Unfortunately, many wait until it’s too late and for those who haven’t taken out protection because the premiums are too expensive the financial effects can be devastating.
The health minister’s statement may be controversial but if it encourages individuals to take more responsibility for their own lifestyles it could also lead them to recognise the value of and need for protection.