The board of directors of Women’s Health Clinic stands in solidarity with the Black community in their grief and outrage at the senseless loss of life and the ongoing injustice of systemic racism and white supremacy.
It is all too clear that we live in a society that does not treat all lives equally, and we must shine a light on the ways in which those racist structures have withheld equal access to the Black community and all those marginalized by white supremacy, including access to reproductive justice. It is on the people most benefiting from the fruits of those racist structures and systems to use their privilege to support and uplift those calling for a more equitable society. It is also on us as an organization to centre the narratives and experiences of Black community members in our work to challenge racism, and to do so on their terms – not ours.
Women’s Health Clinic has not lived up to the values of intersectionality we profess and has not properly done the work of shining that light upon ourselves. In order to be truly intersectional, we must move forward to root our work in justice and anti-racism and ensure a safe space for Black and Indigenous workers, clients, and other community members of colour at WHC and everywhere.
As a board our commitment over next year will be to actively redress the harms caused by the pervasiveness of white feminism and white supremacy within Women’s Health Clinic. We will move to amplify Black and Indigenous voices at the Board table as well as throughout the organization. It is our responsibility to challenge and dismantle the structures of white supremacy inside and outside of our organization if we are to truly live up to our value of being anti-racist.
Health at Every Size Value Statement
Health at Every Size® (HAES®) is an evidence-based approach to reduce the risk for and to treat chronic disease. HAES® encompasses physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health while challenging the assumptions about the relationship between weight and physical health.
As HAES® practitioners we commit to promoting:
Respect, acceptance and provision of appropriate care for people of all shapes and sizes.
We educate staff about weight bias, risks of dieting and HAES® principles. The clinic environment includes chairs and medical equipment that meet the needs of a wide range of body sizes. Health education, promotional materials and other communications use inclusive, diverse images and non-stigmatizing language when discussing weight or health.
Eating for wellbeing
Healthy eating includes eating for energy, nutritional needs and pleasure. We encourage regular eating that is balanced as well as flexible. Dieting for weight loss is not recommended.
People of all shapes and sizes are encouraged to move their bodies in pleasurable ways in order to enhance their health within the range of their individual abilities, limitations and interests.
Emphasis is on health-promoting behaviour changes to improve quality of life and with consideration for emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical wellbeing.
We promote HAES® principles to our clients, other health care providers, the wider health care system and the community. We promote critical thought around the damage done due to weight bias in the fitness, nutrition, healthcare, fashion, pharmaceutical and diet industries.
Rationale for HAES®:
- Weight bias has a significant impact on social, economic, psychological and physical health.
- Body size is to a large degree genetically determined and weight is a factor that is not modifiable on a sustained basis for the majority of people.
- Health behavior changes can reduce risk and treat chronic disease regardless of weight.
- Weight bias may inhibit larger bodied clients from seeking health care and may prevent health care providers from making appropriate recommendations or investigations.
- Physical activity may result in increased muscle strength, improved balance and flexibility, improved cardiovascular fitness, pleasure, social connections and a greater sense of wellbeing. Physical activity may or may not result in a change of body shape, size, or weight.
- Weight loss diets, medications and surgeries do not result in sustained weight loss for the majority of people and in many cases lead to increased weight gain in the longer term.
- Dieting can lead to weight cycling, poorer health outcomes, disordered eating or eating disorders and poorer measures of mental health including anxiety and depression. Health risks associated with repeatedly losing and gaining weight are often more significant that those risks associated with maintaining a stable, but higher weight.
Sources & Recommended Reading
Association for Size Diversity and Health (www.sizediversityandhealth.org)
HAES Principals, research, suggested books, and blog posts
Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift
Bacon, L. and Aphramor, L.
Nutrition Journal (2011), 10:9
Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight – by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor BenBella Books (2014)
Fat Studies Reader – Edited by Esther D Rothblum and Sondra Solovay
New York University Press (2009)
Health at EVERY Size®: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon BenBella Books; Rev. 2nd edition (2010)
Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss and the Myths and Realities of Dieting by Gina Kolata