Health At Every Size® is a social justice movement and weight-inclusive approach to health. Contrary to popular misconception, it does mean healthy at every size. It does not say that everyone, no matter their size, is “healthy.”
HAES stands for the right to pursue health in personally meaningful ways, no matter one’s size.
The Association for Size Diversity and Health originally developed the HAES principles in 2003 and revised them in 2013 to be more inclusive, intersectional and clear on its stance on other forms of discrimination. Today there are five principles which guide the Health At Every Size Approach. The following is taken directly from the ASDAH website:
1. Weight Inclusivity
Accept and respect the inherent diversity of body shapes and sizes and reject the idealizing or pathologizing of specific weights.
2. Health Enhancement
Support health policies that improve and equalize access to information and services, and personal practices that improve human well-being, including attention to individual physical, economic, social, spiritual, emotional, and other needs.
3. Respectful Care
Acknowledge our biases, and work to end weight discrimination, weight stigma, and weight bias. Provide information and services from an understanding that socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other identities impact weight stigma, and support environments that address these inequities.
4. Eating for Well-being
5. Life-Enhancing Movement
Support physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities, and interests to engage in enjoyable movement, to the degree that they choose.
As you can see, HAES is not about giving up on your health, it’s about emphasizing evidence-based lifestyle behaviors that can improve health no matter someone’s weight.
When people feel better about themselves, they’re more likely to take care of themselves.
Having a stigma against people in larger bodies puts them at increased physical and mental health risk. Researchers have found that weight stigma is associated with disordered eating, anxiety, depression , increased risk for diabetes, increased inflammatory markers and more.
If any of this is confusing to you, I highly recommend checking out the plethora of resources ASDAH offers. They have very helpful free videos, webinars and more. Consider working with a HAES professional to take a deep dive into these principles.
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