Is “Health at Every Size” actually healthy?

Health is not defined by a certain weight or size.

Emma Darvick

Health is not defined by a certain weight or size.

Zoey McKnight, Staff Writer

The Health at Every Size movement started in the 1960s as a way to combat fat-phobia and prioritize health over appearance. This movement goes hand in hand with the body positivity movement and fat acceptance movement and is focused on shifting the goal from “quick weight loss” to implementing healthy habits such as regular exercise and eating nutritious food.

A common opposition to this topic is: “Obesity can cause numerous health issues, so it shouldn’t be promoted,” and while that statement is true, the Health at Every Size movement isn’t promoting any body size (that’s the point). Several people misunderstand the purpose of the movement claiming that it’s intending to say that all fat people are healthy or that health is never impacted by body fat. However, the commonly described purpose of the movement is to destigmatize people in larger bodies and focus on caring for our bodies instead of trying to constantly change them. Making slow and meaningful changes to your routine will do much more for you than simply trying to lose weight as fast as possible to “look healthy.”

In Dr. Lindo Bacon’s book, Health at Every Size, Bacon states “The surprising truth about your weight, they write a ‘contract’ that skillfully portrays the purpose of the movement as a whole.” It says, “Today, I will try to feed myself when I am hungry. Today, I will try to be attentive to how foods taste and make me feel. Today, I will try to choose foods that I like and that make me feel good. Today, I will try to honor my body’s signals of fullness. Today, I will try to find an enjoyable way to move my body. Today, I will try to look kindly at my body and treat it with love and respect.”

Looking at health without acknowledging the factors that impact our choices can lead to habits potentially more harmful, such as fad dieting and weight cycling. Weight cycling is the repeated act of weight loss and gain, typically due to dieting. According to, people on diets will lose around 10 percent of their body weight in six months, but one to two-thirds will return to their original weight, or gain more within 5 years. If this cycle continues of weight fluctuating in significant amounts, it can cause dangerous long-term effects. The National Library of Medicine says weight cycling may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease more than having just stayed at a higher body weight from the beginning.

Overall, the Health at Every Size movement is an important conversation to have. It is a reminder that health is not defined by a certain weight or size and that it’s important to nourish our bodies with healthy habits. It also provides an alternative to the diet and exercise culture that so often does more harm than good. It’s a reminder to be kind to ourselves and to take care of our bodies in a way that makes us feel good.