Shelbey J. Hagen, BS, MSeC; Mary F. Henningfield, PhD
Objective: Health At Every Size is a paradigm that encourages body acceptance, intuitive eating, and other principles to increase healthy, peaceful living. The model is accepted by many in the mental health field, but in order for its principles to become standard in clinical (medical) care, clinician perspectives on Health at Every Size should be sought and understood.
Methods: Ten clinicians were interviewed (4 physicians, 2 nurse practitioners, and 4 physician assistants). Participants reviewed the HAES principles, and identified facilitators and barriers to respectful, weight-inclusive care.
Results: Most clinicians felt that body mass index is a useful, standard metric, but it is inadequate and can be a cause of distress. Providing non–weight-focused care was identified as the primary facilitator to respectful care.
Discussion: Participants viewed body mass index as useful in some scenarios but do not think it encompass a patient’s well-being and has the potential to cause the patient distress (eg, perpetuating weight stigma). Barriers to using Health At Every Size in clinical practice included the need for clinician education, bias/stigma, and a focus on weight.