Health at Every Size is a movement for recognizing that you can be healthy, regardless of weight or fat. This idea challenges the normalized medicalized ideas about fat and “obesity.” We are used to hearing people say “fat will kill you” or “obesity is an epidemic.” When a fat person goes to the doctor for a cough, they often leave with a diet, not a cure. Because fat is considered the enemy—the most dangerous, loathsome thing you can be.
In actuality, “obese” is an arbitrary idea constructed by BMI. It is defined by the Obesity Society as having too much adipose tissue—by having too much fat. And how do we determine whether someone has “too much” fat? The flawed notion of BMI. BMI is a scale we all got very familiar with in middle school that takes someones height and weight and places them into a category. According to an analysis in Obesity Discourse and Fat Politics: Research, Critique and Interventions, these BMI categories changed overnight with little reason or scientific causing several million Americans to become “overweight” overnight.
HAES rejects the idea that health is so intimately connected to weight and fat, and instead focuses on adopting health habits for the sake of health and well-being instead of harsh regimented weight control. Created by Linda Bacon, PhD, the movement supports the ideas of respect, critical awareness, and compassionate self-care.
Over 10,000 people have signed the HAES pledge. Check out their resources here.