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What is HAES or a HAES Approach?

HAES stands for Health at Every Size. It is a movement and approach to health and well-being that promotes the idea that individuals of all body sizes deserve respect and can pursue health behaviors that are independent of attempts to change their body size or shape.

Key principles of Health at Every Size include:

  1. Weight inclusivity: Accepting and respecting the diversity of body shapes and sizes, and rejecting the idea that weight is a determinant of health or moral worth.
  2. Health enhancement: Promoting health policies and practices that support health and well-being without focusing on weight loss as a primary goal.
  3. Respectful care: Providing compassionate, respectful healthcare that addresses the needs of individuals regardless of their body size or shape.
  4. Eating for well-being: Encouraging flexible, individualized eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure, rather than restrictive dieting or food rules.
  5. Life-enhancing movement: Supporting physical activities that are enjoyable, sustainable, and promote overall well-being, rather than focusing on exercise as a means to lose weight.

The Health at Every Size approach challenges the conventional belief that weight loss is necessary for health improvement and emphasizes the importance of promoting positive health behaviors, such as balanced nutrition, regular physical activity, and emotional well-being, for people of all sizes. It aims to reduce weight stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings and society at large, recognizing that health is a complex and multifaceted concept influenced by various factors beyond weight. Proponents of HAES assert that HAES focuses on holistic health and well-being rather than solely on weight, advocating for inclusive and supportive healthcare practices.

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