Active Low-Carber Forums
Atkins diet and low carb discussion provided free for information only, not as medical advice.
Home Plans Tips Recipes Tools Stories Studies Products
Active Low-Carber Forums
A sugar-free zone


Welcome to the Active Low-Carber Forums.
Support for Atkins diet, Protein Power, Neanderthin (Paleo Diet), CAD/CALP, Dr. Bernstein Diabetes Solution and any other healthy low-carb diet or plan, all are welcome in our lowcarb community. Forget starvation and fad diets -- join the healthy eating crowd! You may register by clicking here, it's free!

Go Back   Active Low-Carber Forums > Main Low-Carb Diets Forums & Support > Low-Carb Studies & Research / Media Watch > LC Research/Media
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members Calendar Mark Forums Read Search Gallery My P.L.A.N. Survey


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   ^
Old Tue, Jul-25-17, 12:25
JLx's Avatar
JLx JLx is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 1,817
 
Plan: IF
Stats: 210/204/165 Female 66
BF:High wt, 276, 255
Progress: 13%
Location: Michigan U.P., USA
Default The problem with ‘morbid obesity’

The problem with ‘morbid obesity’

Quote:
The term morbid doesn’t help us out medically when it comes to weight. As a doctor I know what a BMI of 16, 26, 36 and 46 all mean health-wise. I know which one is associated with osteoporosis and which is associated with diabetes. If I don’t then I don’t need an adjective – I need to go back to medical school. I can diagnose, discuss, manage and bill for endometriosis, diabetes and kidney disease just fine without using the term morbid, so why do I need it for obesity?

It is true that patients often ask if their condition is worrisome or serious, but if we can manage with mild, moderate and severe stages of disease (typically one through four) with essentially every other medical condition from prematurity to cancer, then I am quite confident we do not need any special word for obesity.

It’s time to erase the term morbid obesity from our medical lexicon and probably just do away with the term morbid in medicine altogether. http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/07/...morbid-obesity/


I first encountered this term working in medical records and coding diagnoses long before I ever became it, and I remember it standing out to me. She's right, that there really is nothing comparable that I can think of in medical terminology. It definitely seems punitive. And these days, when medical records are much more accessible to patients than they used to be, it can't be said that patients won't see the term.

I know when I was morbidly obese, I didn't need to see my records to know that my doctor would be referring to me that way. Yes, it can be a wake up call for some people I suppose, but it felt to me that it just fueled my self hatred, which is never an impetus to positive self change for me.

Last edited by JLx : Tue, Jul-25-17 at 14:33. Reason: typo
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2   ^
Old Tue, Jul-25-17, 15:39
barb712's Avatar
barb712 barb712 is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 354
 
Plan: Atkins/IF
Stats: 239/209/209 Female 5 feet 11 inches
BF:
Progress: 100%
Location: USA
Default

I transcribed medical records for 24 years, and the word "morbidity" came up a lot when referring to a state of physical injury or ill health. A mildly or even moderately obese person is in a different place than a morbidly obese person. I don't think using a descriptive ls meant to humiliate or stigmatize a patient but rather to treat him/her more effectively. But what do I know...

Last edited by barb712 : Tue, Jul-25-17 at 16:01.
Reply With Quote
  #3   ^
Old Tue, Jul-25-17, 18:53
Zei Zei is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 1,226
 
Plan: Carb reduction in general
Stats: 230/213/180 Female 5 ft 9 in
BF:
Progress: 34%
Location: Texas
Default

Quote:
I don't think using a descriptive ls meant to humiliate or stigmatize a patient but rather to treat him/her more effectively.

I hope so because my own thought when I saw this article was that it had been a word intended to frighten very heavy people that they might soon die of their condition, which is questionable at best. I've heard of people getting those extreme gut-rearranging bariatic surgeries because of doctors saying they'd soon be dead from extreme overweight if they didn't, and of one lady dying from the surgery whereas she might have lived a very long time just staying fat.
Reply With Quote
  #4   ^
Old Tue, Jul-25-17, 20:12
deirdra's Avatar
deirdra deirdra is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 3,723
 
Plan: HF/vLC/GF,CF,SF
Stats: 197/136/150 Female 66 inches
BF:
Progress: 130%
Location: Alberta
Default

In the 1980s, pregnant woman over 35 were recorded as having "senile pregnancies"
Reply With Quote
  #5   ^
Old Tue, Jul-25-17, 20:33
bluesinger's Avatar
bluesinger bluesinger is offline
Maintaining
Posts: 2,782
 
Plan: LCHF
Stats: 000/000/000 Female 62 inches
BF:22%
Progress: 100%
Location: Nevada Desert, USA
Default

I still remember the day I was left alone in the doctor's office and looked at my chart. I was my usual 20 lbs. heavier than I wanted to be, but seeing the words "menopausal obese female" came as a shock to me. I had never before thought of myself as obese.

Words matter.
Reply With Quote
  #6   ^
Old Tue, Jul-25-17, 22:21
honeypie's Avatar
honeypie honeypie is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 6,457
 
Plan: Cycling VLC with LC
Stats: -/-/134 Female 5'10
BF:
Progress: 56%
Default

Quote:
In the 1980s, pregnant woman over 35 were recorded as having "senile pregnancies"
Is that true? I know they're just called geriatric pregnancies, but senile is always in reference to the loss of mental faculties, no?

Either way, geriatric pregnancy is already pretty plenty depressing.

Morbid obesity doesn't bother me as a medical term at all however. There are some consequences due to being off-the-charts fat, and the fact that morbid obesity is a term in common usage, and that there is a formula used to standardize results of larger populations and to indicate something on a chart that specifically correlates to that category, is frankly the least upsetting thing about being overweight to me. I certainly never would have attributed the word 'punitive' to to describe the phrase.

Why would "morbid obesity" be more standout, or more punitive, than "terminal cancer"? Neither are attributing blame or punishment. They're just descriptors. I have no doubt that in all cases, they are descriptors that we don't like. But they're still just descriptors.
Reply With Quote
  #7   ^
Old Tue, Jul-25-17, 22:36
barb712's Avatar
barb712 barb712 is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 354
 
Plan: Atkins/IF
Stats: 239/209/209 Female 5 feet 11 inches
BF:
Progress: 100%
Location: USA
Default

Very well said, honeypie. I feel the same.
Reply With Quote
  #8   ^
Old Wed, Jul-26-17, 05:06
teaser's Avatar
teaser teaser is online now
Senior Member
Posts: 11,461
 
Plan: ketosis/IF
Stats: 190/158/154 Male 67inches
BF:
Progress: 89%
Location: Ontario
Default

I see the term co-morbidity used a lot, as in schizophrenia being often comorbid with bipolar, heart disease often co-morbid with diabetes, etc. In this context, morbid seems to mean a disease state--morbid obesity might be looked at as obesity that has progressed to the point where it constitutes a disease state, where it's a threat to health. Which is really just repeating what some others have said here. That said--language is for communication, and if the message received is too often not the message intended, I think there is an onus on the person speaking to make themself more clear to their audience.
Reply With Quote
  #9   ^
Old Wed, Jul-26-17, 09:41
Bonnie OFS Bonnie OFS is online now
Senior Member
Posts: 2,047
 
Plan: Dr. Bernstein
Stats: 188/160/135 Female 5 ft 4 inches
BF:
Progress: 53%
Location: NE WA
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by deirdra
In the 1980s, pregnant woman over 35 were recorded as having "senile pregnancies"


Which is why my ob kept saying my age was a problem. It wasn't. What was a problem was my lack of experience - which I would have had at any age.
Reply With Quote
  #10   ^
Old Wed, Jul-26-17, 10:13
barb712's Avatar
barb712 barb712 is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 354
 
Plan: Atkins/IF
Stats: 239/209/209 Female 5 feet 11 inches
BF:
Progress: 100%
Location: USA
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by teaser
... I think there is an onus on the person speaking to make themself more clear to their audience.


Clear communication is always important (and not often achieved) between two people, especially doctor and patient. However, there is institutional jargon that medical professionals use among themselves which can go over the lay person's head or be misunderstood. (Same goes with other professions and industries). Since patients have more ready access to their records nowadays, IMO, some of the onus should also be on the patient to learn the jargon and not let it get the best of their fears and insecurities, etc. It's so geared that way.
Reply With Quote
  #11   ^
Old Wed, Jul-26-17, 12:54
teaser's Avatar
teaser teaser is online now
Senior Member
Posts: 11,461
 
Plan: ketosis/IF
Stats: 190/158/154 Male 67inches
BF:
Progress: 89%
Location: Ontario
Default

I do get where you're coming from. Personally it bothers me when somebody says that they're not on a diet, since the word diet without a modifier just means what a person eats on a regular basis, and didn't originally mean a temporary weight loss plan. And it bothers me when people are bothered when people use the word "fast" for anything but a strict water fast, because again, the word fast just means some sort of abstention from some class of food or other, not necessarily total avoidance of food. I have a little trouble getting everybody to use English the way I think it should be used.

I don't really understand why "severe" is supposed to sound better than "morbid," though, if you're used to the term comorbidity, severe actually sounds much worse.
Reply With Quote
  #12   ^
Old Wed, Jul-26-17, 13:48
barb712's Avatar
barb712 barb712 is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 354
 
Plan: Atkins/IF
Stats: 239/209/209 Female 5 feet 11 inches
BF:
Progress: 100%
Location: USA
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by teaser
I I have a little trouble getting everybody to use English the way I think it should be used.


Me too! And everything else you said rings true for me.
Reply With Quote
  #13   ^
Old Wed, Jul-26-17, 15:05
cotonpal's Avatar
cotonpal cotonpal is online now
Posts: 3,362
 
Plan: very low carb real food
Stats: 245/128/135 Female 62
BF:
Progress: 106%
Location: Vermont
Default

Language isn't static. Meanings change over time, depending on the contexts they are used in and the nature of the people using them. Language used to identify stigmatized groups may start out being non-judgmental in intent but become judgmental over time. Words that are used by one group of people may change in meaning when they are used by another. The term "morbid obesity" may not have been intended to be non-judgmental but may be either employed by some people in a judgmental fashion depending on how they judge the people to whom the term is applied or they may sound judgmental to the people who are referred to in this way. Words matter. Word meanings are not static. Intentions matters too and intentions can be varied. It can become complicated. What was intended can be different than what was received.

Jean
Reply With Quote
  #14   ^
Old Wed, Jul-26-17, 15:16
VLC.MD VLC.MD is offline
Registered Member
Posts: 220
 
Plan: Atkins/LCHF
Stats: 209/185/185 Male 69
BF:reducing
Progress: 100%
Location: Toronto, Canada
Default

I can't decide which is more derogatory:

Morbid Obesity or Geriatric Pregnancy (occurs anytime a woman is over the age of 35 and gets pregnant).

I know what my wife would say.
Reply With Quote
  #15   ^
Old Wed, Jul-26-17, 16:12
teaser's Avatar
teaser teaser is online now
Senior Member
Posts: 11,461
 
Plan: ketosis/IF
Stats: 190/158/154 Male 67inches
BF:
Progress: 89%
Location: Ontario
Default

I'm happy (maybe the wrong word) using the terms depression, anxiety, mania, psychosis etc. The stigma sort of follows you home anyways, and keeping quiet about these things is maybe part of why people get the impression sometimes that psychotic equals psycho, I sort of like to think that meeting somebody like me who has been psychotic a number of times, but never stabby, is good for people.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:28.


Copyright © 2000-2017 Active Low-Carber Forums @ forum.lowcarber.org
Powered by: vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.