The British Professional Association of Dietitians (NDA) responds to a controversial statement in the British House of Lords about obese people, who ‘only need to eat 1 meal less per day’. According to the NDA, this simplistic view is absolutely unhelpful and worsens weight stigma.
Lord McColl, Member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom and former professor of Medicine, caused a stir in a recent discussion in the House of Lords by suggesting that obese people should ‘eat less and skip 1 meal a day’. In this way, he said, the National Health Services (NHS) would save £50 billion a year.
Complex problem without a simple solution
“Obesity is a complex, chronic, recurring condition and it is essential that we stop shaming and condemning individuals,” the BDA said on its site. ‘Lord McColl’s focus on personal responsibility ignores individual factors, genetics, gender, ethnicity, health conditions, body composition and inequality in access to the NHS, which have been shown to be crucial factors affecting a person’s weight.’ In short, obesity is a complex problem without a simple solution. To suggest that skipping a meal is the solution to a complex condition is worrying, the BDA said.
Tackling weight stigma
Weight stigma is a major problem and compounds the difficulties faced by people with obesity. The BDA reports that dietitians recognize these individual differences and social inequalities and reject harmful stereotypes. They want politicians to make decisions on behalf of the people, using dialogue that promotes dignity, respect and meaningful support and avoids discrimination. The BDA remains committed to engaging in this dialogue. In this way, the BDA hopes to contribute to more empathy and understanding for people with obesity and an approach to weight stigma.