We live in a society that promotes thinness as a beauty standard and marker of good health. The problem with this notion is that weight alone is a poor determinant of wellness. When looking at health as a whole, it’s essential to look at the individual as a whole. HAES, or Health at Every Size, is a movement that does just that. HAES supports the concept that health is not determined solely by one’s body size, shape, or weight, but is instead a complex combination of physical, mental, and social factors. Let’s delve into this a little further by reviewing the 5 key principles.
- Weight Inclusivity: Weight inclusivity means providing healthcare that is accessible to all and free from weight bias.
- Health enhancement: Through health enhancement, we acknowledge that systemic factors such as poverty, discrimination, and access to healthcare play a significant role in health outcomes.
- Respectful Care: Respectful care requires awareness of potential biases and aims to stop unfair treatment based on weight. Support services embodying respectful care take into consideration the individual’s income, gender, race, age, and sexual orientation.
- Eating for Well-Being: This style of eating encourages a healthy relationship with food. Instead of restricting what you eat to lose or maintain weight, eating becomes a form of nourishment for your body that is both health-conscious and enjoyable.
- Life Enhancing Movement: Incorporate movement or physical activity in a way that feels good for you.
HAES reminds us that there is no one-size-fits all when it comes to healthcare. It urges us to break free from the constraints of diet culture and weight-centric thinking, paving the way for a future where individuals are empowered to embrace their bodies and prioritize their wellbeing without judgment. HAES offers a path toward a more inclusive and compassionate understanding of health that encourages every person to thrive in their unique, beautiful way.