Leading article: A fattist issue

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What's in a name? The NHS should use the term fat instead of obese, a thinnish government health minister said yesterday. Some people, naturally, have been deeply offended, as would have been the minister, Anne Milton, if we had called her scrawny instead of thinnish. The overweight prefer more congenial terms: plump, chubby, tubby or big-boned. Or more politically correct notions; one local authority has been trying to introduce the idea of being "unhealthily weighted".

Perhaps they could agree on curvy, which is the approved word to describe the actress Christina Hendricks, who plays the hip-swaying super-secretary Joan Harris in the television drama Mad Men. The Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone, has held up Hendricks's curvaceous size 14 outline as a better role model than the usual stick-insect heroines of other US TV dramas. That's the good thing about a coalition Government; you get a choice.

Odd, though, that the Government is simultaneously going the other way on other kinds of bad behaviour, abolishing Asbos. Perhaps they will be bringing back tearaways, juvenile delinquents and yobs as approved terms. Or they could always merge the two issues and bring back corpulent punishment.

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