The Persistence of Diet Culture

As I gear myself to head “back to school” with the local college students, I am reminded of the importance of my work, which includes counseling for students with nutritional issues. A great majority of my clients are students who battle with body image struggles, the majority of which began in childhood.  The lifelong effects of dieting at such young ages have been detrimental to their mental & physical health. When I first began my career as a registered dietitian, I never imagined I would view dieting as a negative. As aspiring dietitians, we were taught that fat is always equivalent to poor health & the final goal was a “healthy” bodyweight, which really was code for thin. Luckily, scientific research & clinical experience has proved us wrong. There are many different body types that are considered healthy & many of those don’t fall under the standards of what society considers “skinny.”  As a responsible clinician I feel it is my duty to educate others about the importance of healthy living that does not involve any form of dieting.  That is why this op-ed was so profound for me.  Christy Harrison I a registered dietitian whose practice focuses on helping clients recover from disordered eating. I strongly encourage you to read these op-eds written by Harrison in response to the release of Kurbo, a kids “dieting” app released by Weight Watchers.

Why you should never give your kids this app

It’s the way we were born eating

Just a few takeaways:

“As a registered dietitian who specializes in helping people recover from disordered eating, I strongly recommend that parents keep this new tool — and any weight-loss program — away from their children.

Our society is unfair and cruel to people who are in larger bodies, so I can empathize with parents who might believe their child needs to lose weight, and with any child who wants to. Unfortunately, attempts to shrink a child’s body are likely to be both ineffective and harmful to physical and mental health.

Over the last 60 years, numerous studies have shown that among people who lose weight, more than 90 percent gain it back over the long run. For example, a 2000 study [CW: weight-stigmatizing language and numbers used] of adults 20 to 45 found that less than 5 percent lost weight and kept it off long term. And a 2015 study [CW] of more than 176,000 higher-weight people age 20 and older found that 95 percent to 98 percent of those who lost weight gained back all of it (or more) within five years. A 2007 review [CW] of the scientific evidence found that most people likely gained back more.”

The post The Persistence of Diet Culture is by Sherri Meyer, Corporate Dietitian and appeared first on Meriwether Godsey.

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