Health at Every Size?

After quite a bit of pondering, I can only assume that the Health at Every Size movement is trying to say ‘health is not a size’ or ‘health is more than a size’. Proponents’ point is that you don’t have to be a size 2 to be healthy, and that just because you’re a size 2, you’re not automatically a mentally stable non-smoker with stellar blood pressure and a liver that’ll last forever. We understand and agree with these sentiments, but we find the diction in which they are presented to be misinterpretable, misleading, and consequently malign.

The movement’s signature phrase literally states ‘every size is healthy’ and ‘you are healthy at every size’. This is false and fallacious, promoting, intentionally or otherwise, obesity and emaciation, thereby endorsing the disordered measures used to achieve such physiques. As a result, misconceptions get perpetuated, and people are spoonfed the perfect reason to continue with their eating disorder(s)–oh, it’s healthy!

It’s not. Both extremes can damage your skeletal, neural, digestive, and cardiovascular systems, and both can result in hormonal-irregularity-induced depression and/or mania. Associated behaviors of each can cause electrolyte imbalances and nutritional deficiencies, which, in turn, lead to bone abrasion, muscle atrophy, and organ arrest. Clearly, neither side of the scale behoves your health–physically NOR mentally.

Serious health consequences stem from being severely under- or overweight, and that is something the body positivity and recovery communities need to acknowledge. Yes, everyBODY is beautiful, but no, not everyBODY is healthy. We are doing everyone disservice by glossing over the facts, by conflating body positivity and health, by deluding ourselves with yet another unattainable ideal. Health at Every Size is a medical impossibility, and we must stop pretending that it isn’t.

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