Fat People's Health Advocates Demand Inclusion in Policy Making

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"Nothing About Us Without Us," says the Association for Size Diversity & Health in demanding that the voices of fat people and their advocates be heard in the national conversation about "obesity intervention and prevention" policies.

Redwood City, CA -- The voices of fat people and the organizations advocating for their rights and health--at every size--must be included in the national conversation about "obesity" intervention or prevention policies, the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) demands.

Programs such as First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, efforts to establish “National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month” in September, and legislation to establish BMI as a health “vital sign,” continue to move forward without any meaningful input from fat children or adults, who must every day confront being marginalized in educational, economic, civil, cultural, political, social, and medical arenas.

"It is imperative that we include fat people in the decisions that directly impact their quality of life and access to essential services,” ASDAH President Deb Lemire says.

It is time to replace the medical model of obesity with a human rights model, and ensure that discriminatory social and cultural norms not be institutionalized by law.”

“It is imperative that we end the exclusion of fat people from the decisions that directly impact their quality of life and access to essential services,” ASDAH President Deb Lemire says. “It is time to replace the ‘medical model’ of obesity with a human rights model and work to ensure that discriminatory social and cultural norms are not institutionalized by law.”

"No policies should be decided without the full involvement of members of the groups directly affected by such policies," Lemire adds.

"Have legislators considered asking fat children how they will feel returning to school in September during “Childhood Obesity Awareness” month?" Lemire asks. "Has the issue of bullying caused by stigmatizing children with larger bodies even been discussed?" "Recent studies - to be published in the June 2010 issue of Pediatrics - document that fat children are now 63% more likely to be subject to bullying because of their body size than are children perceived to be of 'normal' weight.

ASDAH supports Surgeon General Regina Benjamin in her charge to "change the national conversation from a negative one that focuses on disease to a positive conversation about being healthy and fit."

Further, Lemire and the ASDAH leadership ask if policy makers really want to throw money into ineffective weight-focused programs when they could invest in the economically sound and evidence-based programs of Health At Every Size.

ASDAH is an international organization comprised of health professionals, scientists and activists committed to promoting all aspects of health and well being for all populations. Its guiding principles of Health At Every Size" recognize and promote the multi-dimensionality of health, including enjoyable and balanced eating and movement, without a weight-loss focus.

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Association for Size Diversity & Health

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