Health at Every Size

Health at Every Size

Health at Every Size (HAES) is an approach to health that focuses on intuitive eating and joyful physical activity rather than dieting and weight loss.


The major components of HAES, as described by Jon Robison, are:
# "Self-Acceptance": Affirmation and reinforcement of human beauty and worth irrespective of differences in weight, physical size and shape.
# "Physical Activity": Support for increasing social, pleasure-based movement for enjoyment and enhanced quality of life.
# "Normalized Eating": Support for discarding externally-imposed rules and regimens for eating and attaining a more peaceful relationship with food by relearning to eat in response to physiological hunger and fullness cues.

HAES advocates generally do not believe that the same narrow weight range (or BMI range) is maximally healthy for every individual. Rather, the HAES approach is that as individuals include physical activity in their lives, and eat in response to physical cues rather than emotional cues, they will settle towards their own, personal ideal weights. These weights, however, can be higher or lower than those described by standard medical guidelines.


The reasoning of Health at Every Size proponents is based on research data suggesting that explicitly trying to achieve a weight in the standard recommended weight (or BMI) range, generally through dieting, is not a desirable goal for individuals wishing to improve their health. Such research provides supporting evidence for the use of lifestyle changes to achieve health improvements:

* A study conducted at the University of California, Davis found that obese, female chronic dieters had substantially better health outcomes after two years following HAES as compared to a control group that followed a standard weight loss program. [cite journal
author=L. Bacon "et al."
title=Size acceptance and intuitive eating improve health for obese, female chronic dieters
journal=Journal of the American Dietetic Association
year=2005 | volume=105 | issue=6 | pages= 929–936
format=abstract page

* Several studies show that exercise can improve health indicators for people of all sizes. Exercise does not necessarily result in major weight loss for obese people. [cite journal
author=M.Krotkiewski "et al."
title=Effects of long-term physical training on body fat, metabolism, and blood pressure in obesity
year=1979 | volume=28 | issue=6 | pages= 650–658
] [cite journal
author=S.N.Blair "et al."
title=Physical fitness and all-cause mortality. A prospective study of healthy men and women
journal=Journal of the American Medical Association
year=1989 | volume=262 | issue=17 | pages= 2395–2401
format=abstract page

Health at Every Size is also influenced by evidence suggesting that many people have difficulty achieving and maintaining weights in standard recommended weight ranges. [cite journal
author=D.M.Garner and S.C.Wooley
title=Confronting the failure of behavioral and dietary treatments of obesity
journal=Clinical Psychology Review
year=1991 | volume=6
] Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that some weight loss treatments have detrimental effects on physical health (such as diet pills in the stimulant class, and gastric bypass surgery), and that the pursuit of weight loss is damaging to mental health. [cite journal
author=Jeanine C. Cogan and Paul Ernsberger, issue editors
title=Dying to be thin in the name of health: Shifting the paradigm
journal=Journal of Social Issues
year=2005 | volume=55 | issue=2

HAES and the Fat Acceptance Movement

HAES is widely promoted within the fat acceptance movement as an alternative to weight-loss dieting.

Main Figures

* [ Linda Bacon]
* Frances Berg
* Miriam Berg
* [ Kelly Bliss]
* [ Deb Burgard]
* [ Paul Campos]
* Claudia Clark
* Laurie Toby Edison
* [ Paul Ernsberger]
* [ Glenn Gaesser]
* [ Karin Kratina]
* Lynn McAfee
* Debbie Notkin
* [ Jon Robison]
* [ Pattie Thomas]
* Marilyn Wann

External links

* [ Association for Size Diversity and Health]
* The [ Health at Every Size Journal] has a [ free issue] available
* [ Health at Every Size: Toward a New Paradigm of Weight and Health]
* [ Healthy Weight Network]
* [ Body Positive]
* [ Healthy Eating & Fitness INDEPENDENT OF WEIGHT]
* [ The Body Positive]
* [ Nourishing Connections]
* [ Fat! Fit? Fabulous!] A September 2006 article describing HAES attitudes.
* [ Laurie Toby Edison's website] - Fine art photographs of diverse beautiful fat nudes (men and women), plus a regularly updated body image blog by Laurie Edison & Debbie Notkin.

Further reading

*cite book |author= Bacon, Linda |title=Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight |location=Dallas, TX |publisher=BenBella Books, Inc. |year= 2008 |isbn= 978-1933771588

*Campos, Paul, Abigail Saguy, Paul Ernsberger, Eric Oliver, and Glen Gaesser. 2006. “The Epidemiology of Overweight and Obesity: Public Health Crisis or Moral Panic?” International Journal of Epidemiology. 35:1. pp. 55-60.

*Saguy, Abigail C. and Kevin W. Riley. 2005. “Weighing Both Sides: Morality, Mortality and Framing Contests over Obesity.” Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law. 30:5, pp. 869-921. []


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