There is a growing movement called Healthy at Every Size. At its core is the idea that good health and body size do not necessarily correlate. As Lee et al. (2012) and the article on 7 Myths About Physical Activity suggest, physical fitness and activity levels are better predictors of overall health rather than the amount of fat on a person’s body. Taking this into consideration, the Healthy at Every Size Pledge encourages individuals to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, enjoy physical activities, and to embrace the “natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.”
The fact is that weight loss alone will not automatically produce good health, and healthy body size can differ vastly from person to person. Unfortunately, we are bombarded everyday with ads telling us QUICK WAYS TO LOSE 10 POUNDS and how to get rid of that stubborn belly fat. Unfortunately, the underlying messages of these commercials are not about health but how to attain a specific beauty standard that is too often equated with being healthy.
NationalEatingDisorders.org has embraced the Healthy at Every Size movement. There have been some critiques suggesting that adhering to this philosophy may encourage some individuals to step away from managing their obesity (as obesity—not simply being “overweight”—does constitute a major health risk). However, because Healthy at Every Size seeks to dispel the myth that there is a single healthy (and beautiful) body type to strive for, its benefits likely far outweigh any negative consequences, especially for the segment of the population vulnerable to or struggling with an eating disorder.
Ultimately, body acceptance may prove to be the most influential outcome of the movement, not only among people struggling with body image but among medical professionals and researchers as well. One size does not fit all when it comes to health. The sooner we put this into practice, the healthier and happier we’ll all be.
Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty