Max Pemberton, a British physician, is sick and tired of coddling obese Britons, whose rapidly rising numbers and failure to deal with their weight problem threatens to break the National Health Service. Excerpt:

In the past few years, we have moved from being outraged about the epidemic to just planning around it. Like a middle-aged man deciding to eat what he wants and let himself go, Britain is pulling on a pair of tracksuit bottoms and heading to the fridge.

It need not be this way. For too long, my fellow doctors have pussyfooted around their obese patients, too scared to confront the, er, elephant in the room. They don’t want to cause offence. Unbelievably, draft guidelines announced last year by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence and Health (Nice) suggested that doctors should even avoid the use of the term ‘obese’ for fear that larger patients might be upset. Instead, Nice recommended advising corpulent patients that they should seek a ‘healthier weight’.

But nice euphemisms mean that people don’t confront reality. I’m not going to stop diagnosing cancer just because people don’t like hearing the dreaded word. So why should it be different when informing people that they are obese? Sometimes morbidly so. What Nice is delicately skirting round is what many doctors, nurses and dieticians will confirm: people don’t like being told that they are overweight, even if it’s objectively clearly the case. And by pretending that this is a disease, the doctors are making it even worse.

Everybody wants an easy answer, Pemberton says, but nobody wants the hard truth. Over to you, Dr. Mary Russell. Y’all watch the clip from The Office above, and start another 200+ comments thread; I’m going to be gone all afternoon giving a talk.


Fatty Fatty Gator Boy.