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What does Health at Every Size mean?

Healthcare providers have traditionally used weight-based metrics like Body Mass Index (BMI) to assess health, which has created a culture that prioritizes dieting and weight loss as means to become healthy. Emphasizing weight and diet in this way can promote disordered eating and reinforces unhealthy social standards around body size. 

In contrast, the Health at Every Size (HAES) framework–used by UHS dietitians and eating disorder providers–combats this traditional weight-centric approach, and instead prioritizes listening to your body, eating what feels right for you and physical movement. HAES is based on five principles: weight inclusivity, health enhancement, respectful care, eating for wellbeing, and life-enhancing movement, all of which support building healthy habits, as opposed to fixating on weight status. 

“It’s pretty common for students to come in looking for help with weight loss because they’ve been told that it’s required for health,” says UHS dietitian Alicia Bosscher. “We have the opportunity to help them see that healthy bodies come in all sizes.”

UHS dietitians use the HAES framework to help students focus on health gain rather than weight loss. They note that dieting and intentional weight loss attempts can do more harm than good and increase the risk of developing an eating disorder. UHS dietitians do not teach weight loss. Instead, they encourage body acceptance and meet students where they’re at to help navigate food and exercise patterns that support health.

“We love that the HAES approach works to reduce harm by challenging conventional weight loss advice,” says Bosscher.

Health is not a size and all bodies deserve respect as they are. 

If you’re interested in using the HAES approach for your wellbeing, you can:

Read more about HAES at or