Fat Science

Investigating the science of body weight regulation

Health At Every Size (HAES)

Posted by Miriam Gordon on September 22, 2009

Tara Parker-Pope, in the health blog section of the New York Times website, addressed in her post “A Diva’s Lessons on Weight and Beauty” the scientifically based concept that controlling body weight is not a matter of will power. Thank G-d, it’s finally dawning on the New York Times’ editors that fat people actually don’t deserve to be punished for their lack of will power (particularly after that awful Times magazine cover touting Clive Thompson’s misguided article (“Are Your Friends Making You Fat?”) on Christakis and Fowler’s research).

What many people don’t understand about the very important concept that controlling body weight is not a matter of will power is that people can still be healthy, or improve their health dramatically, no matter what they weigh. Everyone can make changes in their lives that will improve their health. It is absolutely true that a sedentary lifestyle combined with poor eating habits is clearly linked with disease, such as diabetes and heart disease. The important thing is the process of learning to incorporate healthier habits, while doing away with prejudice or discrimination against fat people. Shaming fat people will not lead to improvement in anyone’s health. Instead, it will continue to engender low self-esteem, unhealthy dieting practices that will slow down metabolic rates, and eating disorders. In short, the focus should be on learning to live a healthier lifestyle that doesn’t involve beating oneself up on a regular basis, based on one’s appearance or a number on a scale. Check out Linda Bacon’s website and the website for the Association for Size Diversity and Health.


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5 Responses to “Health At Every Size (HAES)”

  1. That was an excellent comment you made about to the Times article. Other posts (most of which were nowhere nearly as articulate as yours) are running 50-50 in terms of fat acceptance vs. fat bashing. Your links to Linda Bacon and ASDAH did not show up as links, but at least mention is made of them.

    Bill Fabrey
    Council on Size & Weight Discrimination
    http://www.cswd.org
    Mt Marion, NY

  2. i was starting to believe that i may perhaps end up being the sole student who thought about this, at least at present i discover i’m not gaga :) i will make it a point to see a couple of various other posts after i get a little caffeine in me, it really is tricky to read without having my coffee, I was until the wee hours of the morning last evening grinding myspace poker and after downing a few ales i wound up getting rid of all my facebook poker chips cheers :)

  3. Hi Facebook Chips, I am so glad you found my blog and realized you weren’t alone. You’re in very good company! I look forward to hearing more from you.

    Miriam

  4. Hidi said

    “…it will continue to engender low self-esteem, unhealthy dieting practices that will slow down metabolic rates, and eating disorders.”<—This is what the nation will benefit from monetarily. This nation do not care about anyone's health. It is all a mind game.Many fail to recognize this. For example, a mom tells her daughter you are ugly because your fat over and over again. It is a great possibility the child will start to believe this, then it becomes a self fullfilling prophecy. The child's mind has been manipulated.

    • This is sad and true, Hidi. Thank you for your comment. We HAES advocates have a long hard war ahead of us, which I believe will take generations in order to have any significant effect on our society. However, we do have reason to hope that things will improve for us, as it did with smoking. The tobacco industry has suffered for their deceptions, and hopefully the government, medical establishment and these powerful, multibillion dollar industries will have to reckon with the truth eventually.

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