Obesity, health at every size, and public health policy

Am J Public Health. 2014 Feb;104(2):e60-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301486. Epub 2013 Dec 12.


Obesity is associated with chronic diseases that may negatively affect individuals' health and the sustainability of the health care system. Despite increasing emphasis on obesity as a major health care issue, little progress has been made in its treatment or prevention. Individual approaches to obesity treatment, largely composed of weight-loss dieting, have not proven effective. Little direct evidence supports the notion of reforms to the "obesogenic environment." Both these individualistic and environmental approaches to obesity have important limitations and ethical implications. The low levels of success associated with these approaches may necessitate a new non-weight-centric public health strategy. Evidence is accumulating that a weight-neutral, nutrition- and physical activity-based, Health at Every Size (HAES) approach may be a promising chronic disease-prevention strategy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Advertising
  • Body Weight
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diet
  • Environment*
  • Exercise
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Public Health*
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Loss