Guest Blogger: Health at Every Size

Dr Bacon

Today we welcome a guest post from Rosco of Oregon State University. Rosco attended a lecture by Dr. Linda Bacon about obesity myths and how we create alternative options that encourage better health and well-being for people of all sizes. Here are Rosco’s reflections on the lecture:

Rosco and Dr. Bacon

Rosco and Dr. Bacon

My name is Rosco and I work at Healthy Campus Initiatives at Oregon State University (OSU). We strive to engage our campus community in conversations over the importance of healthy eating, being active, stress management and tobacco cessation. Commonly, there are events, activities and lectures around campus that highlight one or more of these general wellness areas, and on May 22nd, Dr. Linda Bacon a professor, researcher, and the author of the book Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About your Weight gave a lecture at OSU entitled “The Next Public Health Challenge: Losing the Anti-Obesity Paradigm.” This presentation focused on issues around the false relation of body size and disease.

Dr. Bacon spoke of the current obesity trends and how obesity is currently at a plateau. Dr. Bacon presented the ongoing initiative of Health at Every Size (HAES) that focuses on being accepting of size, finding pleasurable physical activities, and adapting nourishing eating habits through eating mindfully. Diets only show to have positive impacts on health in the short term, but also increase inflammation and encourage weight cycling. People implementing HAES showed to have greater success because of the healthy behaviors suggested and they were also more likely to stick with it in the long term. The issue is that society today relates weight to health; encouraging people to strive for an impossible ideal of a magical body fat percentage that may actually be unrealistic or unobtainable. These paradigms create a stigma on being overweight or obese and can be more damaging for the developing youth by encouraging the consideration of harmful behaviors (e.g., “yo-yo” dieting). People implementing HAES have reported greater success because of the healthy behaviors suggested and they were also more likely to stick with it in the long term.

My background consists mainly of the physiology of fitness and nutrition so I was excited to learn about the psychological and social aspects of body composition. The ideas and findings presented during this lecture were very informative. The HAES program has shown to be beneficial for many and I highly encourage everyone to review the program for the improvement of overall health.

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