Take a moment to slow down and reflect. Do you remember when you first learned about Health At Every Size®? How and when did you decide that you would practice dietetics from a weight inclusive approach? What personal, educational, or experiential factors led you to where you are today?
Whatever the roots, working from a non-diet framework means that your business runs differently than the status quo. Though challenges may arise, trust that your work is absolutely vital. Your voice and your marketing can help combat the weight stigma that runs rampant in our society, undermining both mental and physical health. Consider these facts:
- Following sexism, weight discrimination is the most common form of discrimination that women report experiencing.
- 92.5% of high schoolers of size report experiencing weight-based bullying from their peers.
- 69% of people living in larger bodies report experiencing weight stigma from doctors.
- After family, the healthcare system is the most common place where people living in larger bodies encounter weight stigma.
Weight stigma is both a social justice and public health issue. It interrupts people’s relationships with food, body, and self. There are even studies suggesting that weight discrimination increases mortality risk and contributes to health inequalities at the population level.
In such a climate, how can you market your business in a way that does not contribute to the destructive norm of weight discrimination and stigma?
Julie Church, RDN, CD, CEDRD of Opal Food + Body Wisdom presented a members-only webinar in September 2018 exploring just that, titled Weight Inclusive Business Practices. EDRDpro members can find this in the webinar library and watch the replay at their leisure! In the meantime, here are a few highlights to consider:
- What images do you show on your marketing materials? Do they acknowledge and celebrate all different kinds of bodies?
- Does your marketing acknowledge that nutrition is not the end-all-be-all when it comes to health?
- Does your office space have chairs that will accommodate bodies of all sizes?
- Do your team members understand and practice from a Health at Every Size® approach?
- Celebrating, advertising, or selling weight loss in any way is antithetical to a Health at Every Size® approach.
Hungry for more? Watch Julie Church’s webinar for further exploration of this topic and practical advice for your own business practices!