What is Health at Every Size®?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: August 2023

The Health at Every Size® (HAES) initiative promotes principles of body acceptance, well-being, and weight inclusivity. HAES challenges the conventional approach to health and weight management. It encourages all people to focus on holistic well-being rather than solely on body size.1

What is Health at Every Size?

HAES is a body acceptance movement. It was started in 2003 by the Association for Size Diversity and Health. Since then, the movement has gained recognition among health experts, activists, and people worldwide.1

HAES advocates for a more compassionate and inclusive approach to health. It does this by embracing a diverse range of body shapes and sizes. HAES empowers people to make positive lifestyle changes that promote their overall well-being.1

At its core, HAES challenges the belief that health and self-worth are only determined by the number on the scale. It recognizes that many factors drive health and weight, such as:1

  • Genetics
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Mental well-being
  • Access to resources
  • Lifestyle choices

What are the HAES principles?

HAES is made up of 5 core principles.1

Weight inclusivity

HAES rejects the notion that there is an ideal weight. Instead, it encourages people to accept that all shapes and sizes are valid and should be respected.1

Respectful care

Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, regardless of their size or shape. HAES wants everyone to treat others with compassion and respect. Each of us must recognize our inherent biases and strive to stop weight bias and weight stigma.1

Eating for well-being

People involved in HAES want everyone to have a positive relationship with food. HAES calls for intuitive eating and mindful practices. Nourishing the body and listening to internal cues are key.1

Life-enhancing movement

HAES encourages folks to engage in physical activities they enjoy – regardless of age or disability status. They are working to shift the focus from exercise as a means of weight loss to movement that brings overall well-being and joy.1

Health enhancement

The HAES approach calls for inclusive and non-stigmatizing approaches to healthcare, policies, and services. These things should support all people, no matter their body size.1

Getting involved with HAES

There are many ways you can integrate the HAES principles into your life.1

Educate yourself

Learn about the core principles of HAES. Study the research and resources available. Check out articles, books, podcasts, and social media accounts that promote an inclusive mindset around body diversity.

Be an advocate

Share the HAES message with friends, family, and colleagues. Raise awareness about weight inclusivity, and challenge weight bias.

Seek out HAES health professionals

Look for healthcare providers and fitness instructors who embrace the HAES approach. These professionals will prioritize your well-being rather than focusing just on weight-related goals.

Support HAES organizations

Donate to or volunteer with organizations that promote weight inclusivity and body diversity. These groups help advance the HAES principles and empower people to embrace body acceptance.

HAES and the weight inclusivity movement

The HAES initiative plays a crucial role in the weight inclusivity movement. It advocates for a shift in the way we approach health and body diversity. HAES promotes mental and physical well-being for all. The ultimate goal is to reduce the harmful effects of weight stigma on people and society as a whole.

By embracing the HAES principles, you can:

  • Develop a healthier relationship with your body
  • Foster self-compassion
  • Promote sustainable lifestyle changes

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