Clinician says we shouldn't use the word 'obesity'

There are concerns weight-loss programmes used to treat childhood obesity is normalising "fat-shaming".

It comes as new research out of Australia, published in the JAMA Pediatrics journal, found obesity treatment for children is associated with a higher risk of developing depression and anxiety.

"A small proportion [of children] may be at risk of worsening pathology and may require additional support," the research says.

"Treatment of weight concerns should be considered within the treatment plan for young people with depression and anxiety."

Speaking about the research, specialist clinician Estella Leek told The AM Show health looks different for everyone.

"We prefer not to use the word obesity these days," she said.

The clinician says people don't need to be thin to be healthy.
The clinician says people don't need to be thin to be healthy. Photo credit: Getty

Leek said we need children to be body positive.

"If we start young with languaging appropriately - we're going to end up with children with much better self-esteem," she told The AM Show.

Leek said people don't have to be thin to be healthy.

"Whatever body size you have, we want to target initiatives that allow you to be as fit and well as possible, no matter what your body size."

One in eight Kiwi children live with obesity.