Category Archives: Food for Thought

Health at Every Size

imageI recently finished reading Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon, PhD.  Bacon agues that promoting weight loss is ineffective in improving health over the long-term.  According to the book:

  • The vast majority of dieters regain their weight. There is no method proven effective for weight loss maintenance.
  • Research is emerging showing that fitness, not fatness, is associated more strongly with health and longevity (1,2,3).
  • Preoccupation with weight can be psychologically damaging and may lead to disordered eating (4,5).
  • People of any size can improve their health and reduce their risk of chronic disease by eating healthfully and being physically active, regardless of whether or not they lose weight (6,7)
  • No study has ever shown that weight loss actually prolongs life.

The Health at Every Size (HAES) approach emphasizes:

  • Self-acceptance regardless of weight, size, or shape
  • Physical activity for enjoyment and enhanced quality of life
  • Normalized eating in response to physiologic hunger and fullness cues rather than external guidelines or rules
  • An approach to healthy living that does not necessarily involve weight loss for overweight individuals

With the HAES approach, the fundamental principles of nutrition remain the same.  It’s still important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and unsaturated fats from mostly unprocessed sources.  It’s still important to eat breakfast and drink water.  If you follow these guidelines and lose weight, that’s fine.  But if you follow these guidelines and don’t lose weight, that just may be fine too.  What are your thoughts on HAES?

For additional information on HAES, check out:

Also check out this short clip by the Surgeon General, emphasizing a Health at Every Size approach:

References:

  1. Barlow CE, Kohl HW, Gibbons LW, Blair SN. Physical fitness, mortality and obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1995;19(suppl4):S41-S44.
  2. Church TS, Cheng YJ, Earnest CP, et al. Exercise capacity and body composition as predictors of mortality among men with diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2004;27:83-88. Abstract
  3. Katzmarzyk PT, Church TS, Janssen I, Ross R, Blair SN. Metabolic syndrome, obesity, and mortality: impact of cardiorespiratory fitness. Diabetes Care. 2005;28:391-397. Abstract
  4. Gaesser GA. Big Fat Lies. Carlsbad, Calif: Gurze Books; 2002.
  5. Campos P. The Obesity Myth: Why America’s Obsession With Weight Is Hazardous to Your Health. New York: Gotham Books; 2004.
  6. Barnard RJ, Jung T, Inkeles SB. Diet and exercise in the treatment of non insulin dependent diabetes. Diabetes Care. 1994;17:1469-1472. Abstract
  7. Tremblay A, Despres JP, Maheux J, et al. Normalization of the metabolic profile in obese women by exercise and a low fat diet. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1991;23:1326-1331. Abstract

Food for Thought: The Key to Success

“Persistence, not perfection, is the key to success.”

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Healthiest Nation in One Generation

On behalf of National Public Health Week, I wanted to share the below video.  Enjoy!

The Real Cost of Cheap Food

Americans spend a lower percentage of income on food than any other nation.  As a result, our food system has shifted to low-quality, calorie-dense foods.  See what it is doing to our health… check out the below 2 minute video.

The Fun Theory

We health professionals are always trying to come up with ways to get people to adopt healthy behaviors. I like this new idea to get people to take the stairs more often:

 

What other ways could we implement “The Fun Theory” to get people to adopt healthy behaviors?  (Note: If you have a really great idea, enter the contest at http://thefuntheory.com/?q=rolighetsstipendiet to win $3700!)