The amount of weight bias in the literature (and therefore the medical community) is astounding. Health care providers must become critical reviewers of the research to provide safe and ethical services. Many of the studies finding a correlation between weight and health have not controlled for things like SES, weight cycling, fitness, stigma, oppression, trauma, and more. Correlation is different than causation.
When we critically evaluate the data we find the evidence that weight is even a risk factor is, at best, incomplete and contradictory. Here are the links to a few research articles critically evaluating weight science and offering data to support a weight-inclusive model of care:
We have included both papers on our Health at Every Size Resource Page if you ever want to share this information with patients or providers interested in learning more.
We strongly encourage you to read these papers. And regardless of whether or not you agree with us (and the evidence), it seems important to note that there is no evidence-based treatment for high body weight with five and ten year outcome data to show that weight loss is maintained (and this includes bariatric surgery).
It is possible to focus on health gains without focusing on weight;we can trust people’s bodies to sort out the weight. When the most consistent effect of weight loss at two years is weight gain (Mann et al, 2007), it is time for a new conversation about health. Unfortunately, this information is left out of our biased medical training.
Remember, our first ethic as helping professionals is to DO NO HARM. We must provide services that are weight-safe, neutral, and inclusive if we want to avoid harming the people we serve.
Together, we can make the world safer for all bodies.