Abstract| Volume 45, ISSUE 4, SUPPLEMENT , S4-S5, July 2013

Health at Every Size: A New Opportunity for General Education


      A Health at Every Size® (HAES) course that fulfills general education (GE) requirements at a university was developed and addresses influences of body esteem, size discrimination, and mindful eating and exercise.

      Target audience

      First and second year undergraduate students enrolled in GE nutrition courses.

      Theory, Prior Research, Rationale

      Young adults are at risk for body dissatisfaction and adopting unhealthy dieting techniques. Despite evidence that weight loss interventions are ineffective longterm, weight management is still promoted in college-level nutrition curriculum. The HAES paradigm encompasses weight-neutral messages, mindful eating and enjoyable exercise and may be best for promoting permanent health behavior changes. GE courses offer an opportune setting to introduce the HAES paradigm, while also addressing diversity and social justice. Social Cognitive Theory was used to guide the development of the HAES GE course. Students studied the impact environmental cues can have on body image and health behaviors and modeled HAES patterns to peers.


      Health at Every Size®: A non-diet approach to wellness provides an overview of social, cultural and environmental influences of body esteem. Topics include size discrimination, body dissatisfaction, intuitive eating and activity.


      Changes in dieting patterns, intuitive eating scores, body esteem scores, and anti-fat attitudes of students enrolled in the course compared to students in a traditionally taught nutrition course will be presented.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Data analysis is in progress, though essays written by students in the HAES GE course post intervention suggest notable shifts in attitudes surrounding anti-fat bias and lower body dissatisfaction. GE courses should be considered for implementing HAES interventions.