Weight Neutrality and Physiotherapy – The HAES Model

What is the Health At Every Size (HAES) Model?

HAEs involves:

• Weight inclusivity: Accepting and respecting the diversity of body shapes and reject the idealizing or pathologizing of specific weight.

• Respectful care: Recognizing that health and well-being are multi-dimensional and that they include physical, social, spiritual, occupational, emotional, and intellectual aspects. Once these biases are acknowledge, we can work to end weight discrimiation and stigma.

• Health enhancement: Promoting all aspects of health and well-being for people of all sizes. Including but not limited to: supporting health policies that improve access to information and services.

• Life-enhancing movement: Promoting individually appropriate, enjoyable, life-enhancing physical activity, rather than exercise that is focused on a goal of weight loss.

• Eating for Well-Being: Promoting eating in a manner which balances individual nutritional needs, hunger, appetite, and pleasure.

Benefits of Weight Neutrality / HAES

  • Avoids risks associated with attempted weight loss: There is no existing intervention to permanently and safely change weight
    • If we are suggesting weight loss as the primary intervention, we are supporting weight cycling, which demonstrates poorer outcomes
  • Reduces Eating Disorders: Disordered eating is connected to an “ideal goal weight”
  • Encourages movement for the sake of movement: individuals do not ‘give up’ on exercise if they are not reaching “ideal goal weight”
  • Shifts focus: Public health interventions are needed to address social injustices and oppressions related to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, etc. instead of a focus on individual choices and pathology

– Ashley Saltsman, MSW Student

  • Main et al., (2010), Chapter 2: What’s Weight Got to Do with It?
  • ASDAH, Health at Every Size (HAES) Principles, www.sizediversityandhealth.org

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