Ask the dentist: Why can some people not cope with the word 'fat'?

Dentists, doctors and other medical professionals have to be free to use words like 'fat', argues Lucy Stock of Gentle Dental Care

The impulse to censor Roald Dahl's books and to avoid using words like 'fat' will be bad for our health
The impulse to censor Roald Dahl's books and to avoid using words like 'fat' will be bad for our health

HAVE the enormous crocodiles arrived yet to torment the censoring lunatics? Why can some people not cope with the word 'fat'? This beigeyfing of Roald Dahl and literacy in general sets an alarming precedent.

Should we start inking over paintings that offend? Shall we cover Lucian Freud's Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (arguably his best painting of a fantastically rotund woman) with a teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini?

Mass censorship of the arts affects all of society including the sciences.

We are teaching our children not to be able to cope, that everything should be easy, difficult things should be avoided, not heard, not read, not seen, not felt. In effect we are erasing our capacity for resilience.

With the avalanche of health and safety in recent times and now the extreme wokeness that is broiling in society, our children's ability to analyse and deal with life's normal difficult situations is being eroded and adults are already shunning providing more complex work as they are becoming more risk averse.

My husband calls resilience mechanisms 'coping stones' and when working in dentistry and medicine we need sackfuls of coping stones. Society needs young people coming into the professions to be underpinned with coping stones so that they will be able to handle the job.

To be a pioneer, to be an inventor, to implement new procedures, to push the boundaries of science and to deliver healthcare requires free thinkers, lateral thinkers and different outlooks on life. It involves the ability to disagree, the ability to fail, the ability to critically analyse situations and then get back up and start again a million times.

The least we need to be able to do is to have the capacity to read words that we could – perhaps, maybe – find disagreeable and not dissolve into a panna cotta.

As health care professionals we need to be free to say the words fat, obesity or overweight as adipose tissue has a sizeable bearing on diseases like cancer, gum disease, heart disease, stroke, obstructive sleep apnoea, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and many more conditions.

Pretending something isn't there doesn't help people improve their health.

My soul craves the multicolouredness of diversity and difference. Freedom of speech allows us to breathe. Vive la difference...