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Celebrity nutritionist 'mortified' after using derogatory term for Down syndrome in new book

Dr Libby Weaver said she believed the term “mongolism” was a currently used term.

Libby Weaver made the apology on her website.
Libby Weaver made the apology on her website.

AN AUSTRALIAN CELEBRITY nutritionist has issued an apology and recalled copies of her new book after it was published containing a derogatory term for Down syndrome.

Dr Libby Weaver made the apology on her website and said that she was “mortified about her mistake”.

In her book What Am I Supposed to Eat?, Weaver referred to Down syndrome as “mongolism”, a term for the disorder that was dropped by the World Health Organisation in the 1950s.

The term was first used by British doctor John Langdon Down in the 1860s but it has since been widely discredited as being offensive and is not in use as a medical term.

In a passage in her book, Weaver linked “mongolism” to a lack of folic acid during the early stages of pregnancy. An assertion that has also been described as inaccurate.

After the mistake was spotted it prompted a backlash and Weaver has since promised to recall 20,000 of the printed books and correct the error. She said she believed the word was a currently used term.

In a video on her website she said:

“Hello, I’m here today to issue a public apology, in my latest book What Am I Supposed to Eat? I used a term to described Down syndrome that I thought was a current medically used word.”

It has since been brought to my attention it is a word that is used in a derogatory way and I am mortified to have caused anyone any distress through this error, particularly children with Down syndrome and their families.

“I’ve instructed my publishing company to immediately begin the process of recalling the book from sale and arranging a reprint in which the word will not appear. I am so very sorry for the distress that I have caused, please accept my deepest apology.”

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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