Popular nutritional biochemist Dr Libby Weaver, who holds a PhD from Newcastle University, has upset readers with her recently released book, What Am I supposed to Eat?
In Weaver’s book, which was released just over a month ago, she suggests pregnant women consume folate to reduce the risk of “neural tube defects, spina bifida, deformed limbs and mongolism.” Weaver also promotes and sells a range of her own BioBlends Supplements aimed at pregnant women.
Auckland Down Syndrome Association chairperson Natasha Gould said members were “dumb-founded and deeply offended” by Weaver’s use of the word in her latest book What Am I Supposed to Eat?
“ADSA considers it extremely sad and ill-informed that someone as learned and with such a high profile as Dr Libby Weaver would use the term ‘mongolism’ to describe a group of people with Down syndrome (or the correct medical term, which is Trisomy 21),” Gould said.
“Organisations like ADSA exist to encourage inclusion of people with Down syndrome in the community. People with Down syndrome add a lot of value to our community, are loved deeply by their family and friends and the use of this term is hurtful to all, adds no scientific, medical or information value whatsoever and is simply wrong.”
Weaver said the term was used when she was studying in the 1990’s and she did not realise it had fallen from favour. The outdated, derogatory term, which in the past had been used to describe those with Down syndrome, originated in the late 1800s and has been deemed offensive for many decades now. Yet Weaver claims she was only alerted to the fact after she received a phone call from an upset mother of a child with Down syndrome.
As a result of the discovery, Weaver has instructed her publisher to recall at least 20,000 books and arrange a reprint in which the word will not appear.
Weaver is, however, self-published as she owns Little Green Frog Book Publishing that publishes the Dr Libby Weaver range of books, so in effect, she is instructing herself to recall her own book, as she is the publisher she has referred to in alerting to recall the book.
Weaver has also issued a public apology on her social media channels, stating that she believed it was a medical term still in use today. “I am absolutely mortified at the distress I have caused children with Down syndrome and their families,” Weaver said in the 38-second filmed video.
How can someone calling themselves a doctor really believe that term was still being used today?
Let us know your thoughts.