University sports captains and fitness instructors are to be banned from telling students to ‘burn those calories’ or ‘work off last night’s pizza’ because it is ‘fatphobic’.
Mandatory training on the harmful impact of weight stigma will be introduced at Bristol University this term for sport and exercise staff and students running teams.
It comes after the Student Council condemned the ‘insidious presence of diet culture’ at the university, highlighting phrases such as ‘let’s slim those waists’ as evidence of so-called ‘thin privilege’.
‘This rhetoric is common in the fitness industry,’ said Abbie Jessop, one of the students who brought the motion, in a blog.
Bristol university is to impose mandatory training to combat what it calls ‘the harmful impact of weight stigma’
‘It communicates the toxic ideals of diet culture, notably that thin equals health and exercise is only a compensatory activity to burn calories.’
As part of the initiative, the students’ union will conduct a ‘full review of sports, exercise and health messaging to ensure that it is not triggering’.
But critics described it as the latest example of ‘cancel culture’. Frank Furedi, emeritus professor of sociology at Kent University, said: ‘The policing of language on campuses has acquired an unrestrained dynamic.
‘Soon even the word “athletic” will be denounced for triggering exercise-averse undergraduates.’
Last week, academics recommended that healthcare workers let obese patients decide which terms are used to refer to their excess weight, after research found they did not like terms such as ‘fat’.
It comes after the Student Council condemned the ‘insidious presence of diet culture’ at the university, highlighting phrases such as ‘let’s slim those waists’ as evidence of so-called ‘thin privilege’