EASO is pleased to join the European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG) and global colleagues in support of this statement about the importance of using person first language in childhood obesity to address weight stigma and bias. The group has issued a press statement which is below, as well as a link to the full statement in Pediatric Obesity.
Editorial publication: Championing the use of people-first language in childhood overweight and obesity to address weight bias and stigma in Pediatric Obesity
Brussels, April 1st 2023
The World Obesity Journals today announced the publication of ‘People-first language and pediatric obesity’ in prominent international peer-reviewed journal Pediatric Obesity.
A joint statement in support of person first language use, ‘Championing the use of people-first language in childhood overweight and obesity to address weight bias and stigma’, has been signed by the European Childhood Obesity Group (ECOG), the European Association for the Study of Obesity Childhood Obesity Task Force (EASO COTF), the International Pediatric Association (IPA), Obesity Canada, the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), The Obesity Society (TOS), and the World Obesity Federation (WOF) and is available open access: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ijpo.13024
Professor David Thivel, President of the ECOG and coordinator of this joint statement comments: “This paper emphasises the importance of considering the use of people-first language when it comes to pediatric obesity, by all who work with, care for or support children and adolescents, in order to avoid stigmatisation and to create an appropriate and optimal context to optimise their development, health and well-being. Importantly, this is the first time that the main international organizations and scientific societies working in the field of obesity have collaborated on such a joint statement”.
Championing the use of people-first language in childhood overweight and obesity to address weight bias and stigma
The use of person-first and patient-first language in referring to adult obesity is gaining ground as the preferred standard. This language underscores the significance of referring to individuals as “people with obesity” instead of identifying people solely by their disease, as is commonly the case with disease-first language. Using people-first language aims to acknowledge that individuals with obesity are more than their weight, shape or size, and seeks to minimize negative bias, stigma and discrimination.
In order to address the high levels of stigma experienced in healthcare and educational institutions by children and adolescents living with obesity, ECOG is championing the use of people-first language in childhood overweight and obesity. The organization has invited EASO, COTF, IPA, Obesity Canada, OAC, TOS, and WOF to lead the charge in promoting the use of person-first and people-first language, and to take action to reduce weight bias, stigma, and discrimination among individuals working with children and adolescents who have obesity.
Reflecting on the editorial, EASO President Professor Jason Halford said, “This article carries a strong message about the power of language; we must all strive to do better in how we communicate about body weight, particularly with children. EASO recognizes the challenging realities of every person living with obesity, people who are not defined by their weight. We are pleased to be part of this collaborative call to action for Europe to build the optimal supportive environment to drive better health and wellbeing for our young people.”
Our joint statement underscores the significance of using positive language and taking proactive measures to counter weight bias and stigma. Doing so will enhance obesity interventions and management. In turn, this may drive positive social outcomes for all children, regardless of their weight or health status.
Complete list of authors
Weghuber, Daniel; Paracelsus Private Medical School, Department of Pediatrics
Khandpur, Neha; Wageningen Universiteit en Research
Boyland, Emma; University of Liverpool
Mazur, Artur; Faculty of Medicine, Paediatrics
FRELUT, Marie-Laure; Paediatrician
Forslund, Anders; Uppsala University; Uppsala University Hospital
Vlachopapadopoulou, Elpis; Aglaia Kiriakou Children’s Hospital,
Erhardt, Eva; Department of Paediatrics University of Pecs
Vania, Andrea; University La Sapienza, Rome, Paediatric nutrition
Molnar, Dénes; University Pécs, Pediatrics
Ring-Dimitriou, Susanne; University of Salzburg, Department of Sport Science & Kinesiology
Caroli, Margherita; Local Health Authority Brindisi
Mooney, Vicki; The European Coalition for People Living with Obesity (EASO ECPO)
Ramos Salas, Ximena; Obesity Canada
Forhan, Marie; Copenhagen University Hospital
Pulugan, Aman; International Pediatric Transplant Association
Holm Jens-Christian; Holbaek University Hospital
O’Malley, Grace; Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, School of Physiotherapy
Baker, Jennifer; The Capital Region, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital; University of Copenhagen, Section for Metabolic Genetics
Jastreboff, Ania; Yale University School of Medicine
Baur, Louise; University of Sydney, Sydney School of Public Health
Thivel, David; CHEO / HALO
More about ECOG
- Founded in 1991 by paediatricians with a unique experience in the field of child and adolescent obesity.
- ECOG’s members are well-known physicians, psychologist, physical activity specialists, nutritionists and health workers from across Europe.
- ECOG is a European network aiming at better understanding, evaluating, preventing & treating child & adolescent obesity.
- ECOG members belong to major national scientific associations and take part to European meetings, expertise and studies.
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Championing the use of people‐first language in childhood overweight and obesity to address weight bias and stigma: A joint statement from the European‐Childhood‐Obesity‐Group (ECOG), the European‐Coalition‐for‐People‐Living‐with‐Obesity (ECPO), the International‐Paediatric‐Association (IPA), Obesity‐Canada, the European‐Association‐for‐the‐Study‐of‐Obesity Childhood‐Obesity‐Task‐Force (EASO‐COTF), Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), The Obesity Society (TOS) and the World‐Obesity‐Federation (WOF) – Weghuber – Pediatric Obesity – Wiley Online Library