FAT Brits should no longer be called “obese”, leading psychologists claim.
Instead, tubby adults should be referred to as “people living with obesity”.
Experts say being lardy is “not a choice” and should not be blamed on a lack of individual willpower.
They claim genes and environmental factors, such as work and school, are causing Brits to overeat and shun exercise.
Two in three adults in the UK are currently overweight or obese. Being too heavy raises a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes, liver and heart disease, and several common cancers.
A new report from the British Psychological Society calls for an end to fat shaming.
And said ministers must tackle the obesity crisis in the same fashion as smoking.
Researchers argue people pile on the pounds as a result of a complex combination of factors, including genetics, stressful childhood experiences, busy lifestyles and easy availability of junk food.
‘NOT A CHOICE’
Chartered psychologist Dr Angel Chater from the University of Bedfordshire, one of report authors, said obesity levels have rocketed by nearly a fifth between 2005 and 2017.
She said: “This cannot be explained by a sudden loss of motivation across the four nations of the UK.
“The increase in obesity can in part be attributed to changes in the food supply and physical activity environment.
“So the people most likely to be an unhealthy weight are those who have a high genetic risk of developing obesity and lives shaped by work, school and social environments that promote overeating and inactivity.”
Experts added up to half of adults attending specialist obesity services have experienced childhood adversity.
The report warns dieters are also “particularly susceptible to emotional eating.”
‘CRIPPLED BY THIS EPIDEMIC’
The British Psychological Society does not support following the example of the World Health Organisation and classing obesity as a disease.
But said it remains “important to avoid language and explanations that locate the ‘problem’ of obesity within individuals.”
Sarb Bajwa, chief executive of the BPS, said: “The Government acknowledged that obesity was a threat to the health of the nation back in 1991, but the problem has continued to get worse.
“We need a similar effort on obesity to the one we have seen on smoking.
“It has taken action at all levels for decades, from government policy to helping individual smokers, but we are now seeing significant reductions in the level of smoking and the health problems it causes.
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“Psychologists have the science and clinical experience to help the health service do the same for obesity.” Matt Lambert, from the World Cancer Research Fund, said: “People do not become overweight or obese overnight.
Instead we are faced day-in and day-out with unhealthy environments that make junk food convenient, cheap and all too readily available.
“Once we stop blaming individuals maybe we can start taking action so that future generations are not crippled by this epidemic.”
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