Club advises students to watch lifestyle, not weight

Crystal Vasquez
Crystal Vasquez

Health At Every Size is a new club on campus whose aim is to help students live healthier lifestyles without consuming dietary supplements or refusing to eat entirely.

The club supports students in adopting healthy habits for the sake of well-being, rather than weight control.

“We are at a tipping point where people are tired of another diet and spending all their time and energy focusing on trying to lose weight,” said Dr. Michelle Morris, professor and adviser to the club.

The Health At Every Size approach comes from The Association for Size Diversity and Health, an international professional organization composed of individuals in health care, academic, organizational and socio-cultural disciplines.

The club is all about promoting the practice of healthy behaviors to all people, regardless of weight, body shape or body type.

“We are taking a HAES approach so that all students feel welcome on this campus regardless of their body shape or size,” Morris said. “We would like to put an end to size discrimination and all of its forms.”

Nutrition and Food Science 200 is a class that was created last year that helped build a foundation for the HAES club.

“Within the last year or so there’s been a group of faculty and staff members on campus who want to promote health at any size in our various units, and because of this group of people and the class itself, we wanted to have a student club,” Morris said.

For some students, Health At Every Size has become a way of life. Crystal Vasquez, club president and senior food and nutrition major, said accepting the Health at Every Size way of thinking was a gradual process.

“There was a slow realization for me that the number on the scale is not what matters most, but it’s more about how you feel about yourself and how you feel when you eat,” Vasquez said.

The club will focus on Health At Every Size education and advocacy on and off campus.

The club is planning on partnering with other organizations, such as the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center, Morris said.

Community outreach to local middle and high schools is another place where the club would like to promote positive body image.

“Adolescence is a hard time,” Vasquez said. “I hope to have members of the club become mentors at the schools and not just for the teenage girls but the guys as well.”

Natalie Butler, a senior nutrition and food science dietetics major is happy to join the club.

“It’s honestly a breath of fresh air,” Butler said. “I think my favorite part is just knowing that every body is beautiful and you cannot tell your health based by your size.”

Watching students become advocates, promoting diversity and social justice issues is one thing Morris loves about her role in the club.

“It’s wonderful to see students take leadership roles and see how they can be empowered to live their healthiest lives,” Morris said.

Health At Every Size will hold its first club meeting around the end of September. The club will meet Monday evenings from 6-7 p.m.

 

Nicole Santos can be reached at [email protected] or @Iam_NicoleS on Twitter.