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It's time we told fatties the naked truth - you're just eating too much...

Let's call a spade a spade. When you are fat, you are fat. They might try to tell you that you are borderline obese, obese or morbidly obese, but even though those words are hardly edifying, they give the naked truth a veneer of respectability and medical credence. The reality is that overweight people have eaten too much and not moved around enough.



SCARED

Ireland has an obesity crisis. We have a nation of fat adults and more worryingly, fat children. And certain sections of the medical profession are too scared to offend the sensibilities of the over-eaters by telling them bluntly that they are fat.

UK Minister for Public Health Anne Milton thinks doctors should stop telling patients that they are obese, but instead use more hard-hitting language. She wants fat people to be told by GPs, in no uncertain terms that they are fat.

I spoke to Dublin GP Dr Niall O'Clerigh about this on the radio show during the week. He shares the minister's view that there is a soft-soaping attitude to obesity and an unwillingness to cause distress to those who have eaten their way to poor health. Dr O'Clerigh says he looks an overweight patient in the eye and says, 'You are too fat'. He says that the patients are often shocked but will come back to the clinic over time and admit that the truth, while initially hurtful, led to them taking responsibility for themselves and losing some weight.

The obesity crisis is costing all of us. The health service is having to cope with increased levels of diabetes, stroke and heart attacks among those who are too neglectful of their own health to know when one more piece of pie is too much.

I'm aware that I might sound like someone who is preaching from the Skinny Chair, but the truth is that my weight bounces around too, much like everyone else, if I don't keep it in check. In fact, in my late teens I was at least two stone heavier than I am now. I had to take a look in the mirror and decide to take a course of action in relation to my own health that would mean hard work, discipline and exercise in order to be the size where I am most comfortable.

These days, I realise that exercise is the only answer for me because I like my food too much. At least I can eat pretty much what I like if I stick to my commitment to be active. But I know that in order to give my health the best chance I can and to stay feeling and looking well, I need to stick within a certain weight range. The problem is that so many people allow it to get out of hand.



FAILING

There appears to be a culture where individuals eschew personal responsibility for what they eat and the type of lifestyle that they lead.

Dr O'Clerigh says that he has lots of patients who come to him asking for medication to help them to lose weight, failing to see that in most cases it's a question of eating less and moving more.

The Coombe Hospital says that it will have to use some of its budget to buy specialist equipment to deal with the complications presented by overweight expectant mothers.

The wellbeing of both mother and baby is threatened by obese women who are giving birth with the added pressure of extra weight taking its toll on both parties.

Our health budgets are under enough pressure without people who are unwilling to address their own issues with overeating taking up space in doctors surgeries and hospitals.

It is time for medics to get tough on the fatties and the fatties should start facing up to the truth, that there is no one other than yourself to blame for a bulging waistline.


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