4180.0 Politics of obesity: Health at any size

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 12:30 PM
The focus on obesity at the individual and health behavior level can mask the social and structural production of obesity. It has also proven to be largely ineffective, as the increasing levels of obesity in the U.S. have shown. Further, the focus on 'obesity reduction' may alienate women of larger sizes and actually result in their engaging in fewer health behaviors, such as exercise, due to issues of stigma. This session focuses on the health at every size (HAES) approach. This approach seeks to encourage behaviors to maximize physical, sexual and emotional health for women of every size. In particular, this session seeks to increase our understanding of how lay women conceptualize obesity, how concerns about obesity can lead to anxiety in younger women and of how popular culture frames messages about fitness and nutrition. There is a lack of discussion in public health of alternative ways of addressing health behavior among women of larger size. This session seeks to fill that gap by providing an in-depth look at the 'Health at Every Size' alternative to more traditional ways of addressing obesity.
Session Objectives: 1. To describe the relationship between body image and health behaviors. 2. To assess the ways in which neoliberal ideals of autonomy and individual responsibility mask the social and structural production of obesity. 3. To explain how the health at any size approach can improve health behaviors and outcomes for women at every size.
Stacey Plichta, ScD, CPH

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: APHA-Committee on Women's Rights
Endorsed by: Socialist Caucus, Women's Caucus, Community Health Planning and Policy Development

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH) , Masters Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)