Imagine a world where all bodies are valued, respected and supported with compassionate and
empathic health care, despite someone’s body size, shape or weight? I know it is hard to
imagine, however there is social justice movement in our society that does just that and it is
called HAES. The acronym HAES stands for “Health at Every size.” HAES is a social justice
movement, started by Lindo Bacon (formerly Linda), that focuses on building inclusive and
respectful communities where people of all sizes can find compassionate care. The HAES
approach is an alternative to the weight-centered stigma of healthcare and believes that one’s
body size or weight does not accurately define someone’s health.
The movement promotes body size acceptance, ends weight discrimination in healthcare and
decreases our societal obsessions with weight loss and thinness. It also fosters the dynamics of
balanced eating, life-enhancing movement and respect for each person regardless of one’s body
shape, size or weight.
Many questions are answered in the HAES Manifesto and in Lindo Bacon’s book entitled Health
at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about your Weight, however there are five components of
HAES that help to break down what the HAES movement focuses on: weight inclusivity, health
enhancement, respectful care, eating for well-being and life-enhancing movement.
1. Weight Inclusivity. Accept and respect the inherent diversity of body shapes and
sizes and reject the idealizing or pathologizing of specific weights.
2. Health Enhancement. Support health policies that improve and equalize access to
information and services, and personal practices that improve human well-being,
including attention to individual physical, economic, social, and spiritual factors.
3. Respectful Care. Acknowledge our biases, and work to end weight discrimination,
weight stigma, and weight bias.
4. Eating for Well-being. Promote flexible, individualized eating based on hunger,
satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure, rather than any externally regulated eating
plan focused on weight control/weight loss.
5. Life-Enhancing Movement. Support physical activities that allow people of all sizes,
abilities, and interests to engage in pleasurable movement, to the degree that they
HAES de-emphasizes weight loss as a health goal and works to reduce stigma towards people
who are in larger bodies, overweight or fat. HAES proponents believe that traditional
interventions which focus on weight loss, such as dieting and following an external eating plan
that emphasizes calorie reduction, do not produce positive health outcomes and can be