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Experts weigh the heavy impact words have when creating policies for better health
Date:10/20/2011

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 6, 2011 Are words weighing down America's ability to improve its health? According to a group of weight and health experts assembled by the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance, the answer is yes. There is a need for media and policymakers to more responsibly address weight-related health issues, the experts said, and remove the verbal barriers that are getting in the way of a more informed, responsible conversation.

"With chronic diseases plaguing our health and driving up costs, we can no longer afford to overlook how weight relates to health," said Alliance Director Christine Ferguson, J.D. "Improving how we talk about weight and health in media and policy is step one to how we will improve our health."

The STOP Obesity Alliance, in conjunction with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), developed the new weight and health discussion guidelines for policymakers, released today during a national webinar. The new guidelines are designed to help policymakers more responsibly address weight-related health issues.

The recommendations emphasize that despite the pervasiveness of inaccurate depictions of weight-related issues in the media and popular culture, policymakers need to understand that both individual choices and societal factors impact weight status. Specifically, the recommendations call for policymakers to responsibly address weight and health by adhering to the following evidence-based principles when discussing and developing weight-related health policies:

  • Weight is about health, not appearance.
  • Weight status does not necessarily reflect health status.
  • It takes more than willpower to maintain a healthy weighta strong support system is necessary.
  • Body size and shape are influenced by inherited and environmental factors.
  • BMI is one of many factors in determining a person's weight status as it relates to health.
  • Incrementa
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Contact: Melissa Warren
mwarren@ccapr.com
202-609-6010
Chandler Chicco Agency
Source:Eurekalert

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