NAAFA Responds to U.S. Preventative Services Task Force's Recommendation

NAAFA encourages the US Preventative Services Task Force to reconsider their recommendations regarding childhood obesity that have potential to do more harm than good.
FOSTER CITY, Calif. - Nov. 29, 2016 - PRLog -- NAAFA, a civil rights organization working for Equality At Every Size, has grave concerns that a recommendation attempting to change a predominantly heritable trait such as body size/weight may set children on a path toward a lifetime of feelings of failure resulting in weight cycling, body hatred, food and body insecurity, with potential for development of eating disorders.  We would offer suggestions for a weight-neutral approach to assist healthcare professionals, educators, and parents in teaching children how to eat, live and flourish physically, mentally and emotionally.


NAAFA   strongly suggests that the final recommendation of the USPSTF be based on weight-neutral principles, as in the Health At Every Size ® (HAES) tenets.

HAES-Based Role of Healthcare Workers and Educators:

• Discourage dieting, skipping of meals, or the use of diet pills; instead, encourage and support the implementation of healthy eating and physical activity behaviors that can be maintained on an ongoing basis. The focus should be on maintaining full and happy lives rather than on body size or weight.
• Promote a positive body image among ALL children of all ages. Do not encourage body dissatisfaction or promote body shaming.
• Encourage more frequent family meals.
• Encourage families not to talk about weight or body size but rather about listening to your body's hunger and satiety cues, along with sharing how activity (such as family play time) help us be healthy and happy.
• Encourage family play time and enjoyable physical and mental activities.
• Inquire about mistreatment or bullying based on body size and address these issues with patients and their families.
• Carefully monitor weight loss to ensure the child has not developed an eating disorder and the medical complications of weight cycling or semi-starvation.

HAES-Based Education in Schools:

"Everybody in Schools HAES Tool Kit" available on the NAAFA website at

HAES-Based Education for Parents:

"Healthy Bodies; Teaching Kids What They Need to Know"

Recommended Reading:

"Am I Fat? Helping Young Children Accept Differences in Body Size"

"Your Child's Weight: Helping Without Harming"

Body Diversity Educational Tool: Book:  "Shapesville" by J.Andrew Smills and Rebecca Osbom

For the full text of NAAFA's comment with study references, go to:

Founded in 1969, NAAFA is a non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for fat people. NAAFA works to eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide fat people with the tools for self-empowerment through public education, advocacy, and member support.

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Peggy Howell
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Tags:Childhood Obesity, Discrimination, Eating Disorders
Location:Foster City - California - United States
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