Association for Size Diversity and Health

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Press Releases sent by ASDAH leadership are archived here for your reference.   Media outlets are welcome to access the releases for reference as needed.

Massive Research Review Concludes—Prescribing Weight Loss is Ineffective and Unethical

For more information, please contact:
Jeanette DePatie (Media and Communications Co-Chair)
Deb Lemire (President)

New Paper Published in Nutrition Journal Cites Overwhelming Evidence that Condemns Weight Loss Prescription and Supports ASDAH’s Health At Every SizeSM Approach

January 25, 2011 ~ REDWOOD CITY, CA:  A new review of hundreds of recent studies in the areas of health, obesity, diet and weight supports what the professionals at The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) have said all along--prescribing weight loss doesn’t result in healthier people.  Health professionals may mean well when they suggest that people lose weight.  But a new paper recently published in Nutrition Journal suggests that this approach may be not only ineffective in terms of health outcomes, but also harmful.  Citing evidence gathered from hundreds of recent studies the authors show that weight-loss attempts may lead to short-term success but end in long-term frustration.  Repeated attempts to lose weight may ultimately trigger weight gains.  And a weight-focused approach to health is likely to do more harm than good.

Co-authors Linda Bacon, an associate nutritionist at the University of California, Davis Department of Nutrition, and Lucy Aphramor, an NHS specialist dietician and honorary research fellow at the Applied Research Centre in Health and Lifestyle Interventions at Coventry University, England recently published a review paper that explores over one hundred and fifty existing studies on the subject of dieting, obesity, health and lifestyle.  Their conclusion:  not only are the vast majority of diet and weight loss efforts doomed to fail, but they may also lead to weight gain in the long run.  Since prescribing weight loss results in people who are neither slimmer nor healthier, and since weight loss prescriptions have negative side effects (lower self esteem, eating disorders, and other problems), the authors suggest that this flawed treatment is unethical and should be avoided.

In the paper, authors Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor also call for a radical shift in focus from conventional weight management to an emphasis on healthy behaviors, regardless of an individual’s size or shape.  This manner of treatment, known as a Health At Every SizeSM  (HAESSM) approach, has been the recommendation of The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) since its inception. 

“This very simple, yet seemingly radical idea has been our approach all along,” said ASDAH President Deb Lemire.  “If long-term weight loss is unattainable for the vast majority of people, it is nonsensical to prescribe it as a cure.  Especially when a HAESSM  approach has been proven time and again to improve health outcomes--without unwanted side effects.”

In the paper, authors Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor also support the notion of Health At Every SizeSM, calling for a radical shift in focus from conventional weight management to an emphasis on healthy behaviors, regardless of an individual’s size or shape. Evidence cited within the paper shows that changing health behaviors can improve blood pressure, blood lipids, self-esteem, body image, and other indicators of health and well-being, whether or not people lose weight.  And focusing on health (at any size) brings about change without the frustration, loss of self esteem, and other contraindications commonly associated with a weight-focused approach.

“When people fail in weight loss time and again, they give up on more than weight loss—they give up on health,” said Lemire.  “They get the idea that health is an exclusive club only open to thin people.  We at ASDAH believe in a more inclusive approach to health.”

This inclusive approach to health will be the topic of ASDAH’s international conference scheduled for August 12-14 in San Francisco, CA.  The conference entitled—“ No BODY Left Behind - The HAESSM Model: Ensuring an Inclusive Approach to Health & Wellness” will focus on the availability of health for all people regardless of age, shape, size or ability.  Bacon, a member of ASDAH, and Aphramor have been invited to present their paper at the conference.  A copy of the paper can be found at

The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) is an international professional organization started in 2003. It is an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization, whose diverse membership is committed to the principles of Health At Every SizeSM (HAESSM)

The HAESSM (Health At Every SizeSM) movement is a continuously evolving alternative to the weight-centered approach to treating clients and patients of all sizes. It is also a movement working to promote size acceptance, end weight discrimination, and lessen the cultural obsession with weight loss and thinness.  You can learn more about ASDAH and HAESSM on the organization’s website at

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