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'Murtall' the new term for obesity in the Irish Language

13 February 2018

The Association for the Study of Obesity on the island of Ireland (ASOI) has successfully changed the word for obesity in the Irish language. ‘Otracht’ was previously the Irish term for obesity. The English translation of ‘otracht’ is critical, negative and derogatory.

Language is important. The words we choose matter” says Dr Jean O’Connell, Chair of ASOI. “People living with certain stigmatised diseases say that coping with the stigma of the disease is harder than coping with the disease itself. We need to change the way that we talk about overweight and obesity, in every language”.

Niamh Arthurs (Public Health and Clinical Nutritionist, ASOI Education role) addressed this concern with Foras Na Gaeilge. They advised Ms Arthurs to bring the case to the translation section of the Oireachtas in Leinster House. Following discussion, they informed the ASOI that the word ‘murtall’ will be used instead of ‘otracht’ in legislation in Ireland and they will also advise European institutions to use the term ‘murtall’ in future. Foras Na Gaeilge also stated that they would recommend general use of the term ‘murtall’.

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