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Self Esteem / Body Image
News Briefs on body image and size acceptance
Healthy Living at Any Size PDF
It's about you
Youth facts and figures
Body image: What is it?
The media lies
The diet trap
Size Positive
News Briefs
Healthy Living at Any Size PDF
Do-it-yourself self-esteem repair
10 tips for assertive health care
Health care for large people: Concerns
ISAA condemns weight loss surgery for kids
NAAFA'S official position on research
Size acceptance organizations:


It’s about you

You’re okay just as you are. You are a unique person, capable and loveable, with special talents and strengths, with inner wisdom and creativity – a human being of value. So accept and respect yourself now.Get comfortable with the real you, inside and out.Accept your size and shape, your feelings, yourself, unconditionally. Honor your character, talents and achievements.

No need to work on perfecting yourself. In fact, it can be self-defeating, and a big waste of time. Perfection is a myth. It doesn’t exist in the real world and it certainly doesn’t exist in human appearance. Many women who struggle with eating, weight and body image spend inordinate amounts of energy trying to change their appearance. They make their bodies their life’s work; they put their lives on hold “waiting to be thin.”

Instead of trying to meet society’s impossible standards of female beauty, give yourself affirmations on how special you really are. Find the peace and serenity of your life, buried though it may be under many layers. Accept this place where you are on your life’s journey and live with joy and relish.

  • Recognize that beauty, health and strength come in all sizes. Real beauty encompasses what’s inside, your zest for life, your fun-loving spirit, a smile that lights up your face, your compassion for others, says Carol Johnson, author of Self-Esteem Comes in all Sizes. It’s being friendly, generous and loving, having strength and courage, and respecting yourself just as you are — goals that we all can achieve.

  • Your body is okay. Your size is okay. The good news is that you can change how you feel about your body by changing your self-talk. If you are especially concerned over weight, understand that your body has an opinion of what it should weigh at this time in your life. It regulates weight around a setpoint that may be nearly impossible to change. Recognize how destructive the obsession to be thin is and how it harms the people you love, especially children. Your weight is not a measure of your self-worth. Accepting this can give you new freedom.

  • Be size positive. Set an example of respect for size diversity. People naturally come in different sizes and builds, and that’s okay. If you are a large woman it’s especially important in our size-focused society to be a role model who radiates confidence, self-respect and friendliness for other adults and children who, sadly, may fear going out in public. Or, if you are a thin person, keeping thin through semi-starvation, remember this means an anorexic personality (anxiety, irritability, depression, inability to concentrate, social withdrawal, isolation from friends and family, preoccupation with food, loneliness, lack of compassion and generosity, self-centeredness), weak and brittle bones, and other serious health issues. Our society is currently obsessed with thinness, which hurts us all. When will this nation come to its senses, reject size prejudice, accept a wider range of shapes and sizes, and focus on health rather than weight? We each can do our part to bring about this healthful change.

  • Dress for success. Dress in ways that make you feel good, that make your own statement and, most of all, that fit now. Clean out your closet of clothes that don’t fit; clothes you can wear only during dieting bouts. Give away or store too-small clothing. This makes room for clothes you will enjoy wearing.

  • Want what you have – contentment. T he secret to happiness is not to get what you want, but to want what you have . Though much underrated today, contentment has long been valued in world religions and philosophy. Realizing the full measure of our abundance can bring true happiness.

  • Keep a gratitude journal. Have you inventoried the richness of your life assets? Try it. Add to that inventory and each day write down three things you are grateful for in your gratitude journal. It can be humbling to realize the abundance of riches we have, and how much we take it for granted. The everyday joys of family, friends, home, community, country, health, work and the wonder of nature are all around us. Contemplating this can bring you deep serenity.

  • Learn and practice relaxation techniques. Relaxation relieves stress and enhances our lives. Stress overload is linked to many health problems, such as exhaustion, insomnia, headache, diarrhea, anxiety, restlessness, depression, abuse of alcohol, increased risk of heart attack and weakened immune system. Relaxing is like re-booting a stressed-out computer. Everything works better afterward.

  • Choose self-care. Set aside time every day for yourself. T ake time for self-care and healing. Invest in small things that enrich your life: listening to music, reading a novel, napping after lunch, laughing with your spouse or best friend, eating a nourishing meal, telephoning a friend, taking a stretch break at your desk, enjoying a sunset.

  • Live assertively. Assertiveness allows people to express their honest feelings and opinions comfortably, to be open and direct, without anxiety or guilt, and to obtain their personal rights without denying the rights of others. Assertive persons respect themselves, speak calmly and clearly, maintain eye contact, project their voices, and smile sincerely when they mean it. By contrast, responding to others in passive or aggressive ways involves manipulation that respects neither yourself nor them. (By the way, in lists like this, and of course, this one, read, consider and take what seems best for you at this time in your life – and leave the rest. That’s being assertive!)

  • Strengthen your social support . Include pleasant and stimulating interaction with others in your day, every day. Maintain nourishing relationships with family and friends. Promote communication and sharing of feelings in appropriate ways. Encourage positive self-talk, praise and support for each other. Getting involved in volunteer work is an excellent way to increase your social network as you lend a helping hand and a helping heart.

  • Shape a healthy balance. You’ll feel better and have more energy when you develop healthy living habits that come so naturally and feel so normal you hardly think about them. Normalize your life by being regularly active and keeping yourself well nourished without dieting. Take care of your health, but don’t obsess over it or struggle for perfection. Find a satisfying balance of wellness and wholeness that works for you at this time in your life and helps you live the way you want.

Adapted from material in Women Afraid to Eat, Children and Teens Afraid to Eat, and Underage and Overweight, by the author, Francie M. Berg. Copyright 2008, 2004, 2001, 2000, Francie M. Berg, Healthy Weight Network, Hettinger, North Dakota. All rights reserved. www.healthyweight.net

Youth facts and figures

  • 42% of first, second and third grade girls want to lose weight. Collins, M. "Body figure perception and preferences among preadolescent children." International Journal of Eating Disorders 10 (1991), pp 199-208.

  • 45% of boys and girls in grades three through six want to be thinner; 37% have already dieted; 7% score in the eating disorder range on a test of children's eating habits. Maloney, MJ, McGuire, J. Daniels, Sr., and Specker, B. "Dieting behavior and eating attitudes in children," Pediatrics 84 (1989) pp 482-487.

  • 46% of nine- to eleven-year-olds say they are sometimes or very often on diets. Gustafson-Larson, A. M., and Terry, R. D., "Weight-related behaviors and concerns of fourth grade children." Journal of the American Dietetic Assoc. 92 (7)(1992), pp 818-822.

  • 70% of normal weight girls in high school feel fat and are on a diet. Ferron, C. "Body Image in adolescence in cross-cultural research" Adolescence 32 (1997), pp. 735-745.

  • During puberty, most girls' bodies need to gain, on average, 10 inches and 40-50 pounds, including more body fat. Friedman, Sandra Susan. When Girls Feel Fat: Helping Girls Through Adolescence. Firefly Books, 2000.

  • Females need 17% body fat in order to menstruate for the first time and 22% to have regular cycles. Cooke, Kaz. Real Gorgeous: The Truth About Body and Beauty. Norton, 1996.

  • Over half of the females age 18-25 studied would prefer to be run over by a truck than to be fat, and two-thirds would choose to be mean or stupid rather than fat. Gaesser, Glenn A., PhD. Big Fat Lies: The truth about your weight and your health. Gurze Books, 2001.

  • A survey of college students found that they would prefer to marry an embezzler, drug user, shoplifter, or blind person than someone who is fat. Gaesser, Glenn A., PhD. Big Fat Lies: The truth about your weight and your health. Gurze Books, 2001.

  • Up to 35% of normal dieters will progress to pathological dieting and, of those, 20 to 25% will progress to partial or full-blown eating disorders. Shisslak, C.M., Crago, M., and Estes, L.S., "The spectrum of eating disturbances," Intl Journal of Eating Disorders 18 (3) (1995) pp. 209-219.

  • The death rate for eating disorders is 5 to 20%. American Psychiatric Association, "Practice Guidelines for Eating Disorders." American Journal of Psychiatry, 150(2) (1993) pp. 212-228.

  • Americans spend $50 billion annually on diet products. Garner, David W., PhD, and Wooley, Susan C., PhD. "Confronting the Failure of Behavioral and Dietary Treatments for Obesity," Clinical Psychological Review 11 (1991), pp. 729-780. $50 billion is more than the Gross National Product of more than half of all the nations in the world, including Ireland.

From the Council on Size & Weight Discrimination, website, www.cswd.org

Body image: What is it?

Body image is how we feel about our bodies. For many people today it is a big issue that affects how they think and feel about themselves as a person.

With a positive or healthy body image you feel comfortable and confident in your body, have a generally true perception of your size and shape, and understand that physical appearance does not define your character and value. You accept your unique body and don’t spend an much time worrying about food, weight or calories.

On the other hand, people with negative body image continually compare their bodies to others, feel shame, anxiety and self-consciousness about their bodies, and may have a distorted perception of their shape and size. A poor body image can lead to unhappiness, emotional distress, low self-esteem, dieting, anxiety, depression, obsession with weight loss, and a greater likelihood of developing an eating disorder.

When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see? Is your body image positive or negative?

If your answer is negative, you are not alone. Women today are under much pressure to measure up to a certain social and cultural ideal of beauty, which can lead to poor body image. We are constantly bombarded with Barbie-like doll images. By presenting an ideal that is so difficult to achieve and maintain, the cosmetic and diet product industries are assured of growth and profits. It's no accident that youth is increasingly promoted, along with thinness, as essential criteria for beauty. The message we're hearing tends to be that "all women need to lose weight" and that the natural aging process is a "disastrous" fate for women.

Other pressures can come from the people in our lives.

  • Family and friends can influence your body image with positive and negative comments.
  • A doctor's health advice can be misinterpreted and affect how a woman sees herself and feels about her body.

Adapted from information on the National Women’s Health site www.womenshealth.gov/BodyImage
and the National Eating Disorders Association site at

The media lies

Although advertising, the most powerful arm of the mass media, is all around us, many of us believe we are immune from its effects. This mistaken belief is one of the reasons it is so effective. The average American sees three thousand ads per day. Almost all commercial media aimed at women are supported by advertising revenue from the fashion, beauty, diet, and food industries, and their survival depends on their ability to please their sponsors.

Magazine editors, in a fierce competition for readers, know that to make a sale, they need only play on our doubts or create new ones, making us think we have "problems" that don’t really exist ("What’s He Really Thinking When He Sees You Naked?"). Every part of the female body is picked apart and scrutinized, with most articles telling us outright which products we should buy to fix – or at least camouflage – our numerous "flaws."
In trying to understand the media’s objectification of women and how it makes us feel, it can help to think of the camera lens as a white male eye. Have you noticed that the covers of women’s and men’s magazines are almost always female?

The female stars of mainstream movies and TV shows not only look sexy but often behave in the kind of subservient, helpless way that many men find appealing. The camera eye is usually focused on women who look and act in a way that pleases men; men look (active), and women receive their gaze (passive). The media’s gaze is essentially a male gaze. We are so accustomed to seeing things through the dominant male perspective that we might not even notice the dynamics at play.

The media eye, in its many different forms, objectifies all of us. The result? Many of us begin to objectify ourselves. When you’re in an intimate moment with your partner, do you imagine what you look like from the outside rather than focus on the sensations that you feel inside?

When you walk down the sidewalk, are you thinking about how you appear – about how big your butt looks – instead of thinking about the beauty or stimuli around you? Self-objectification can lead to feeling self-conscious and humiliated, and it can make us believe that our bodies exist only for the pleasure of others. 

Excerpted from The Media Lies, Our Bodies, Ourselves

The diet trap

Many adolescent girls are unhappy with their bodies and try to lose weight by using unhealthy dieting practices such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking, severely restricting calories, or eliminating whole classes of foods such as starches and sugars. Some girls are using even more extreme methods, such as making themselves vomit and using diet pills and laxatives.

Also, diets may cause some young people to gain more weight and develop lifelong unhealthy eating habits. One study, for example, found that girls who diet actually gain more weight in the long term than girls who do not diet. This is because dieting may cause a cycle in which they eat very little and then overeat or binge eat. [Editors note: In addition, excess weight regain after a diet may involve “setpoint creep,” from disruption of the body’s  natural weight regulation.]

Girls who feel dissatisfied with their bodies and use unhealthy dieting methods are also at increased risk for eating disorders, obesity, poor nutrition, growth impairments, and emotional problems such as depression.

Research also shows that people under age 30 are more likely to smoke if they are trying to lose weight, even though many want to stop smoking. Teen girls may be especially open to the risks of smoking to control their weight. Cigarettes are often marketed as “slims” or “thins” to play into the social pressures on young women to control their weight, manage stress, and look grown up. One study found that girls who had dieted up to one time each week were twice as likely to become smokers and girls who dieted more often had four times the odds of becoming smokers. Adolescent girls need to be warned that using tobacco is not a good way to lose weight.

The best approach is to encourage healthy eating practices and regular physical activity. Diets do not provide the right kind of nutrition girls need to grow.

From the federal Office of Womens Health website: http://www.womenshealth.gov/bodyworks/toolkit/toolkit.parents.pdf

See also “Top 10 Reasons Not to Diet.”



Do-it-yourself self-esteem repair

by Carol A. Johnson, MA

1. Weight is not a measure of self-worth. Why should it be? Your self-worth is your view of yourself as a total person— how you treat others; how you treat yourself; the contributions you make to your family, your friends, your community, and society in general. Your weight is just your weight. Don't give it any more importance than that.

2. List your assets, talents, and accomplishments and review that list often. Add to your list daily.

3. Focus on the positive aspects of your life — a job you like, good friends, a nice home.

4. Stop criticizing yourself. The inner voice that's telling you you're no good is a liar. View the voice as an unwelcome intruder and show it the door!

5. Avoid "globalizing." Instead of saying "I'm such a failure," say: "I didn't do that one little thing quite right, but I do most things right."

6. Let go of perfectionism, particularly in terms of food. You probably eat pretty healthily a lot of the time. Stop rebuking yourself for the occasional indulgence. Quit thinking of foods as "good" and "bad." Instead, use such terms as "a good thing to eat frequently" or " a good thing to eat occasionally."

7. Develop mastery. What are you good at? Capitalize on these things. Seek further education or training. It's fun to have things we do well.

8. Develop a more positive body image by appreciating your body's functional nature. Thank your legs for carrying you around. Thank your arms for being able to embrace someone.

9. Educate yourself (and those around you) about weight issues. What the research really says about obesity and what most people believe are two different things. We are not to blame for something science doesn't fully understand.

10. Subscribe to magazines and purchase books that show larger women in a positive light. Surround yourself with positive images of larger women.

11. Don't become preoccupied with thoughts of food and weight. Dieting can cause this. Plan what you're going to eat and then forget it.

12. Put nothing on hold as a reward for weight loss. Make a list of things you've always wanted to do and start doing them now. Being thin is not a prerequisite for living life.

13. Remember that society is not always right about things. Just because we have a cultural obsession with thinness doesn't make it right. Like human beings, societies are imperfect and make mistakes.

14. Develop a personal style that announces to the world: "I like me!" How you feel about yourself is reflected in the way you carry yourself, your grooming, your clothes, your smile, the way you speak.

15. Dress comfortably. This may sound silly, but comfortable, properly fitting clothes will improve your whole mental outlook. Tight clothes will make you feel miserable and unhappy.

16. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. If they're not, tell them that you've stopped measuring your self-worth on the basis of your weight and you hope they'll follow suit. If they won't, there are plenty of people who will.

17. List the positive aspects of being a larger person. Has being large made you more tolerant, kinder, stronger?

18. Do not buy into the notion that there is one ideal image or shape every woman needs to conform to. That is nonsense. People come in all colors, sizes, and shapes; that's the beauty of the human race. We do not have "figure flaws." We simply have diverse shapes.

19. Let go of constant comparison and competition. You don't need to be or "do" better than anyone else to be a worthwhile person.

20. You do not deserve to be harassed publicly about your appearance or weight. Decide in advance how you want to handle such situations. And remember that insults are almost always born of ignorance.

21. Concentrate on developing a healthy lifestyle, not losing weight. Developing a healthy lifestyle is a positive activity, while losing weight usually is based on a negative self-image.

22. Look into your past for sources of low self-esteem. Think about messages you were given as a child and refute them. Once you understand how you were taught to have low self-esteem, it is easier to change.

23. Put weight in its proper perspective and focus on what's really important in life. Do you want people to remember you for the shape of your body or the shape of your character and soul?

Reprinted with permission from Self-Esteem Comes in All Sizes, by Carol A. Johnson, p152-154. Available from Gurze Books (www.gurze.com). A certified therapist with a master's degree in sociology, Johnson is the founder of Largely Positive, a support group for large people at http://www.largelypositive.com/


10 tips for assertive health care

Obtaining quality health care is everyone’s right. When you feel comfortable with your physician and other health care providers, you can be open and receptive to fruitful discussions about your health, and willing to take the necessary steps to improve it.

Unfortunately, biases do exist in health care. Large people cannot always take quality care for granted, as you already know if you are larger. You deserve a doctor who will give respectful care, professional concern, needed testing, sound medical advice, and who understands that weight loss has risks and is usually short-lived, resulting in weight cycling, which carries its own risks of higher mortality.

Here are 10 tips to help make sure, whatever your size, that your health care is a positive experience and you get the care you need.

  1. Find a physician you feel comfortable with and who is comfortable with you
  2. If you’re not satisfied with how you are being treated now, or you find yourself skipping appointments, you may want to consider making a change. You’re the customer, so shop around. Ask for recommendations from people you trust.

  3. In setting up an appointment, if you are larger you might ask if it is the health facility’s policy to provide health care at every size, or if they usually focus on weight loss for large people. Tell them you are a large person and request a doctor who is size-accepting and willing to focus on your health, rather than your weight.

  4. Go into your appointment expecting to be treated well and with respect. If it doesn’t happen, or you feel hassled about your weight, respond assertively (don’t ignore it, get angry or retreat into silence). You might hold up your hand and say, “Stop. I would appreciate it if we can talk about my health care, not my weight. Can we do that, please?” Most health providers will quickly agree (and may have learned something that helps the next patient). But if not, you may decide to end the office call, calmly and with dignity.

  5. You have the right to complain if you are treated disrespectfully, or if the chairs, gowns and equipment are ill-fiting. (Be aware that a too-tight blood pressure cuff can give a false high reading, and point this out if the one being used is too small.) Writing a letter to the clinic or hospital manager explaining why you are dissatisfied can be most effective.

  6. Don’t allow anyone to hound you about health risks of your weight, or blame all health problems on your weight. Related risks for people of your size may be minimal or non-existent. It’s not true that thin people are healthier. Studies show that it is fit and well-nourished people who are healthier than others at every size. In any event, risks are group averages, and don’t apply equally to individuals. Furthermore, everyone has health risks. We all share the most deadly risk of all, which is growing older. We need to accept our risks, and not allow them to dominate our lives.

  7. Don’t permit others to coerce you into attempting to lose weight. Weight loss programs and diets can be harmful. They seldom give lasting results and cause weight cycling, a mortality risk in itself. Your weight is what it is. It may well be your healthiest weight at this time in your life. So let’s lighten up on ourselves and others. If you want to lose, the healthy way is by gradually improving lifestyle habits in a way that works for you long-term, and let excess weight come off as a result. Weight lost this way stays off, and your health is improved at the same time. (If instead, you’re tempted by a popular weight loss method on which others are losing, wait at least two years, watch and record what happens to them. Guaranteed to be enlightening!)

  8. Health providers, family, friends and total strangers need to get over the mistaken notion that scolding, blaming, or humiliating will help people lose weight or improve their health. It won’t, and only makes things worse. Such treatment is more likely to cause harm than enhance health.

  9. Above all, don’t delay or avoid health care because of negative past experiences. Conditions only get worse because of delay. It’s your health — you need to take care of it with good medical care, annual check-ups if needed, and preventive testing. Take charge and insist on getting the care you need, along with the respect you deserve.

  10. Remember, good health is more than numbers, whether on a scale or chart. It is feeling good, having plenty of energy, depending on your body to do the things you want. It’s being comfortable with yourself and your natural size.

Finally, a reminder that health is not everything; it is not of itself a worthwhile goal for how we live our lives. It is not happiness; it is not love and caring; it is not compassion or lending a helping hand to others. Improving health may be one means to a better life, but is not an end in itself.

Unfortunately, in some ways, health has become a moral issue. As if “good” people work out at the gym and are obsessed with their own health, while “bad” people let themselves go.

I don’t think so.

California nutritionist Joanne Ikeda puts it this way: “When I meet St. Peter at the Pearly Gate and he asks me what I’ve done with my life, I don’t think he’ll be very impressed if I say, ‘Well, I kept my weight below a BMI of 25.’”

Instead of worrying unnecessarily over health risks we may not even have, all of us, of every size, will be happier and healthier if we accept ourselves as we are and get on with our lives. Health providers and others need to allow their patients the respect and freedom to do this.

Adapted from material in Women Afraid to Eat, Children and Teens Afraid to Eat, and Underage and Overweight, by the author, Francie M. Berg. Copyright 2008, 2004, 2001, 2000, Francie M. Berg, Healthy Weight Network, Hettinger, North Dakota. All rights reserved. www.healthyweight.net

Health care for large people: Concerns

For large people, health can be a complicated subject. Even if people are healthy, even if they eat right, get plenty of exercise, and take good care of themselves, plus-size people are often judged to be unhealthy. This judgment can come from strangers, friends, family, employers, or even health care professionals.

One of the goals of our organization is to separate the issues of weight and health. Weight is a characteristic of the body. It is not a behavior. You can’t tell by looking at a person how much or how little that person eats. You can’t tell from a person’s weight whether he or she is physically active or not. And you can’t tell from a person’s weight how healthy that person is.

Physicians and other health care professionals often advise fat patients to lose weight no matter what their medical condition, whereas a thin person with the same condition would be given medicine or other medical treatment. Hospitals and other health care facilities and equipment (such as cat scans and MRIs) are often inaccessible to large people. Large people are systematically denied health insurance and life insurance, or they are forced to pay higher premiums than those of average weight.

We endorse the Health At Every Size approach, and encourage people to be as healthy as they can be at whatever size they are. Instead of weight loss, we encourage people to make changes in their nutrition, in their physical activity, in their lifestyle, in their self care, and in the kind of professional health care they receive.

Our position is that a person's size does not determine their health or the healthfulness of their lifestyle.

From the Council on Size & Weight Discrimination, www.cswd.org.

More on health care

n Tips on obtaining good health care

n Fat friendly health professionals list

n For information on discrimination among health providers
(www.naafaonline.com, click "issues," then "healthcare")

ISAA condemns weight loss surgery
for kids

AUSTIN, TX - The International Size Acceptance Association (ISAA) condemns the practice of performing gastric bypass (or weight loss surgery) on teenage and pre-teen children. ISAA recognizes the rise in the rate of obesity in children and encourages parents to spend more interactive time with their kids and help them become more involved in physical activities such as sports while reducing time spent in front of the television and on computer games. ISAA suggests reducing family intake of fast foods in favor of healthier food choices.

ISAA has formally been against weight loss surgery since 2001. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, weight loss surgery has a 40 percent complication rate, a 50 percent weight regain rate, and at least 1 in 100 adults die from weight loss surgery procedures. The NIH has referred to weight loss surgery as “induced bulimia” and Dr. Matthias Fobi (creator of the “Fobi Pouch” used on Rosanne Barr) refers to his procedure as “induced anorexia.” Weight loss surgery often leads to obsession with food and other serious eating-disorder behaviors.

“Gastric bypass surgery mutilates a key organ we need to survive, the stomach, and rearranges the digestive system to make it do something it was never designed to do,” said ISAA Director Allen Steadham. “You shouldn’t subject adults to that, much less children!”

Weight loss surgery causes malabsorption, which deprives the body of critical nutrients, including calcium and potassium, which can lead to teenage osteoporosis, compromised immune systems and immunity-related diseases. Other complications of weight loss surgery are painful gastrointestinal distress, leaking of gastric juices into the chest cavity, infection, deterioration of teeth (erosion of enamel caused by repeated vomiting), flatulence, uncomfortable and highly odorous bowel movements and/or loose stools. Many weight loss surgery procedures have to be repeated, which substantially increases the risks of complications and death.

ISAA’s Official position on Weight Loss Surgery is located online

From the International Size Acceptance Association, www.size-acceptance.org


Obesity research

NAAFA’S Official Position on Research

  • The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance asserts that the primary goal of obesity research should be to improve the health and well being of fat people rather than weight loss.

  • NAAFA condemns those obesity researchers who use their position as public health policymakers to further their own economic interest.

  • NAAFA demands that the national government health agencies and the private sector fund new investigations and studies which focus on non-dieting alternatives to improving the health and well-being of fat people.

  • Finally, NAAFA demands that fat people have a voice in the types of weight-related issues being researched, and in the development of public health policy about fatness.

NAAFA Advocates:

  • That all national governmental health, state and local agencies, and the private sector which develop public health policy about fatness consult with NAAFA in order to incorporate the viewpoint of the affected population.

  • That all national governmental health, state and local agencies, and the private sector discontinue funding investigations into dietary, pharmaceutical, and surgical treatments for fatness and focus on a policy of Health at Every Size.

  • That all national governmental health, state and local agencies, and the private sector fund investigations which seek to improve the health status of fat people independent of weight loss.

  • That obesity researchers reveal all sources of current and previous research funding and affiliations with the weight loss and pharmaceutical industries when publishing or presenting their research.

  • That obesity researchers study cultural bias against fat people and ways to reduce that bias.

  • That the media report the results of research which support the position of size acceptance and Health at Every Size.

NAAFA Resolves to:

  • Advocate on behalf of the fat population before national governmental health, state and local agencies, and the private sector which develop public health policy about fatness.

  • Educate its members, the public, and the media about the actual or potential conflicts of interest of obesity researchers.

  • Carefully evaluate any researcher's goals and methods before inviting NAAFA members to consider participating as research subjects or as control group participants in any obesity research study.

  • Denounce any research which could be physically or psychologically harmful or dangerous.

  • Evaluate and disseminate information about the latest developments in obesity research.

    From the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance www.naafaonline.com


Size acceptance organizations

National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance

Founded in 1969, the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance ( NAAFA) is a non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to ending size discrimination in all of its forms. NAAFA's goal is to help build a society in which people of every size are accepted with dignity and equality in all aspects of life. NAAFAwill pursue this goal through advocacy, public education, and support.

Our Vision: A society in which people of every size are accepted with dignity and equality in all aspects of life.

Our Mission: To eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide fat people with the tools for self-empowerment though public education, advocacy, and support.

Our Promise: NAAFA will be a powerful force for positive social change. Using our collec­tive will, talents and resources, we will improve the world — not just for fat people, but for everyone.

Fat people are discriminated against in all aspects of daily life, from employment to education to access to public accommodations, and even access to adequate medical care. This discrimination occurs despite evidence that 95 to 98 percent of diets fail over five years and that 65 million Americans are labeled “obese.” Our thin-obsessed society firmly believes that fat people are at fault for their size and it is politically correct to stigmatize and ridicule them. Fat discrimination is one of the last publicly accepted discriminatory practices. Fat people have rights and they need to be upheld!

NAAFA’s message of size acceptance and self-acceptance is often overshadowed by a $50 billion-a-year diet industry that has a vested economic interest in perpetuating discrimination against fat people. Without active financial support from people like you, NAAFA would not exist and could not fulfill its crucial role defending your rights. While it is an uphill battle to achieve our goals, together we are making a difference.



Council on Size & Weight Discrimination

The Council on Size & Weight Discrimination (CSWD) is a not-for-profit group which works to change people's attitudes about weight. We act as consumer advocates for larger people, especially in the areas of medical treatment, job discrimination and media images.

We believe that

  • All people, no matter what their weight, deserve equal treatment in the job market and on the job.
  • All people, no matter what their weight, deserve competent and respectful treatment by health care professionals.
  • Prejudice based on weight is no different from, and no better than, prejudice based on skin color, gender, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.
  • The media's portrayal of fat people is often inappropriately negative, and that the media promotes people's fear of fat and obsession with thinness.
  • Weight diversity is a positive goal. Our dream is a world in which a person's life, health, well-being, and happiness is unrelated to that person's weight.
  • Happy, attractive, capable people come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Each of us has the responsibility to stand up for ourselves and for people around us who may suffer weight discrimination.
  • Sizism and weight bigotry will end when people of all sizes refuse to allow it to continue

Council on Size & Weight Discrimination
PO Box 305 Mt. Marion, NY  12456
Tel: 845-679-1209


International Size Acceptance Association

The mission of the International Size Acceptance Association (ISAA) is to promote size acceptance and fight size discrimination throughout the world by means of advocacy and visible, lawful actions.

ISAA's primary purpose is to end the most common form of size discrimination and bigotry – that against fat children and adults. ISAA will strive to defend the human rights of members affected by other forms of size discrimination as well.

ISAA defines Size Discrimination as any action which places people at a disadvantage simply because of their size. ISAA defines Size Acceptance as acceptance of self and others without regard to weight or body size.



Association for Size Diversity and Health

The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) is an international professional organization of individual members and organizations started in 2003. The mission of ASDAH is to promote education, research, and the provision of services which enhance health and well-being, and which are free from weight-based assumptions and weight discrimination.

We are an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization, whose members and leaders are committed to the principles of Health At Every Size.

The Health at Every Size movement is a continuously evolving alternative to the weight-centered approach to treating clients and patients of all sizes. It is a movement working to promote size acceptance, to end weight discrimination, and to lessen the cultural obsession with weight loss and thinness. 

Association for Size Diversity and Health
P.O. Box 3093
Redwood City, CA 94064

More size acceptance resources

LINKS to additional Size Positive resources are listed on the organization websites listed above and on the HEALTHY WEIGHT NETWORK Links page


Copyright 2009-1994 by Frances M. Berg, Healthy Weight Network, Hettinger, North Dakota
All rights reserved. www.healthyweight.net


352 pages


Also accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

If ordering more than 4 books, call for shipping costs.




352 pages



Also accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

If ordering more than 4 books, call for shipping costs.




496 pages



Also accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

If ordering more than 4 books, call for shipping costs.