Health Care Providers Must Prioritize Well-Being Over Weight Loss for Ethical and Effective Care

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A recent article in the Journal of Obesity criticizes weight-based approaches to health and recommends that providers and policy-makers replace them with weight-inclusive approaches such as the Health At Every Size model.

The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) heralds the publication of the review article “The Weight-Inclusive versus Weight-Normative Approach to Health: Evaluating the Evidence for Prioritizing Well-Being over Weight Loss” in the peer-reviewed Journal of Obesity. The article, which can be found at, lays out the risks and ineffectiveness of the traditional weight-normative approach in health care, and substantiates the effectiveness of the weight-inclusive Health At Every Size® (HAES®) model for individual and community health.

ASDAH President Fall Ferguson comments, “This is a groundbreaking development for anyone involved in weight science, and for all health care professionals and policy makers dedicated to improving individual and community health. We hope that this article can serve as a turning point to enable both clinicians and public health officials to relinquish their focus on weight in favor of a focus on what promotes health for people of all sizes.”

Authors Tracy L. Tylka, Rachel A. Annunziato, Deb Burgard,Sigrún Daníelsdóttir, Ellen Shuman, Chad Davis, and Rachel M. Calogero find that the research documents “high rates of weight regain and cycling from weight loss interventions, which are linked to adverse health and well-being.” In contrast, the data shows that approaches that emphasize “viewing health and well-being as multifaceted while directing efforts toward improving health access and reducing weight stigma” result in both “statistically and clinically significant improvements in physiological measures...and did not demonstrate any adverse outcomes.”

“ASDAH applauds the authors for taking on this comprehensive research review, and sincerely hopes their work will lead to greater implementation of the HAES model,” responds Ferguson. “Freeing our health systems from weight bias and the unsupported emphasis on weight loss will enable us to collectively refocus on the important work of increasing access and improving health for all.”

About ASDAH: The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) is an international professional organization started in 2003. It is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization whose diverse membership is committed to education, research, and the provision of services which enhance health and well-being, and which are free from weight-based assumptions and weight discrimination. ASDAH promotes the Health At Every Size® (HAES®) approach to health. HAES advocates work to promote size acceptance, end weight stigma, and lessen the cultural obsession with weight loss and thinness. Learn more about ASDAH and the HAES approach on the organization’s website at

Health At Every Size and HAES are registered trademarks of the Association for Size Diversity and Health.

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