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In the landscape of healthcare, traditional paradigms have often centered around body weight, relegating individuals to a narrow spectrum of health determined solely by their size. However, the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) advocates for a framework that challenges these long-standing norms. You may remember the blog we wrote a few months ago about Health at Every Size®(HAES®) and how it can be incorporated into pregnancy care. Well, they just released new principles and we want to explore them!

Evolution of Health at Every Size® (HAES®)

The roots of Health at Every Size® can be traced back to the civil rights movements of the 1960s, where discussions around the oppression faced by individuals based on their weight began to emerge.

These conversations laid the groundwork for an alternative approach to healthcare that shifted away from the obsession with weight loss. In the late 1990s, this approach was formalized as Health at Every Size®, with ASDAH forming in 2003 to advocate for this model.

Over the years, the HAES® principles have undergone revisions to align with evolving societal values and scientific understandings. The most recent update in 2024 reflects a commitment to inclusivity, equity, and liberation for all individuals, regardless of their size.

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Key Principles of Health at Every Size®

The HAES® principles serve as the foundation of this approach to healthcare. They emphasize that healthcare is a human right for people of all sizes, reject the notion that health is solely determined by body weight, and advocate for care that is free from anti-fat bias.

  • Healthcare as a Human Right: Individuals of all sizes have the right to compassionate and comprehensive healthcare, without discrimination based on their body mass index (BMI) or pursuit of weight loss.
  • Collective and Personal Wellbeing: Wellbeing, care, and healing are collective resources that should be accessible to everyone, while also recognizing the individual autonomy to prioritize health in alignment with personal values.
  • Dismantling Anti-Fat Bias: Healthcare providers must actively work to dismantle anti-fat bias, recognizing that fatphobia harms individuals of all sizes and undermines the principles of Health at Every Size®.
  • Reimagining Health: Health is a sociopolitical construct that reflects the values of society, and as such, it must be redefined to prioritize equity, justice, and inclusivity.

Framework of Care for Health at Every Size® Providers

To operationalize these principles, ASDAH has developed a Framework of Care that guides healthcare providers in delivering Health at Every Size®-aligned care.

This framework emphasizes liberatory practices, informed consent, and the development of skills and equipment to provide compassionate care for individuals of all body sizes.

  • Grounding in Liberatory Frameworks: HAES®-aligned care requires a commitment to learning from and aligning with liberation movements, including fat liberation, disability justice, and intersectional feminism.
  • Patient Autonomy and Informed Consent: Patients have the right to make informed decisions about their healthcare, free from coercion or bias, and providers must respect and uphold this autonomy.
  • Compassionate Care and Critical Analysis: Providers must approach care with empathy and critical awareness, challenging weight bias in research, recommendations, and treatment protocols.
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Moving Towards Equity and Liberation

The journey towards Health at Every Size® is not just about redefining health; it’s about dismantling systems of oppression that perpetuate weight stigma and discrimination.

By embracing the principles and frameworks outlined by ASDAH, healthcare providers can foster a more inclusive, equitable, and compassionate approach to care, one that recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of all individuals, regardless of their size.



*Note: The content of this blog post is based on the principles and frameworks outlined by the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH). For more information, visit the ASDAH website.*

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