Poodle Science

Does one size fit all for health?

The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) is excited to announce the launch of “Poodle Science“, a 3-minute explainer video designed to help the public understand the limitations of the current research on weight and health.

“Weight bias so saturates our culture; we take it as “common sense” that being at a higher weight must cause the health problems that are more likely to occur at higher weights”, says Deb Burgard, PhD, Fellow of the Academy of Eating Disorders and a psychologist in private practice in Los Altos, California, who drafted the script and provided creative input in the making of the video.

Some clinicians and activists in the 1980s began talking about a curious truth, that the diets being prescribed did not lead to sustained weight loss. More research began to show that almost all attempts to lose weight ended either in weight cycling, disordered eating, or frank eating disorders. The discussions led to the proposal of the Health at Every Size® model for addressing overall well-being, as opposed to relying on arbitrary numbers to categorize health.

The HAES® model builds on the research showing social issues such as racism, violence, sexism, poverty, weight stigma, and so on, are the most important causes of health disparities. Yet status, equality, equity and social support are rarely addressed within medicine or the clinician-patient relationship. The lack of attention to these issues and the obsessive focus on arbitrary numerical cutoffs to define health and disease, allow market concerns like selling drugs, surgeries, diets, and procedures to trump scientific inquiries about how to optimize human well-being.

“Poodle Science” is now available as a video on ASDAH’s YouTube channel (here is a link to the video). It is the first in a series of videos that will focus on increasing public awareness and research literacy regarding the link between weight and well-being.

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