Media Monday: Consider the HAES Approach

TEPF Volunteer

In society today, there are constant messages that express information regarding the human body and the ‘ideal’ image. For example, go to your nearest convenience or grocery store and I can almost guarantee that you will find a handful of magazines that discuss an individual’s image.  

In medicine today, there are certain criteria that are said to establish whether an individual is underweight or overweight, thus meaning they are healthy. One criterion that is used is the Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is calculated using height and weight, is entered into a formula, and it then provides an individual with a number, which is their BMI. But that is just it, this is just a number. The number does not take into account the daily routine an individual completes each day, the food they intake each day, or even the amount of lean body mass an individual has compared to fat tissue. It does not provide an accurate indication of health.

Again, BMI is just a number and does not provide any stipulation of what is really going on within the human body. In my opinion, using BMI could lend as a starting point in assessing an individual’s health, but it should not be the only approach that is used. I believe that the H.A.E.S approach should be used throughout medicine in society today.

The H.A.E.S. approach says “the best way to improve health is to honor your body.” It also expresses that being healthy is following good health habits and not being obsessed about weight. As a population we want to be healthy, and many think being healthy is associated with losing weight. However, being healthy means enjoying the life that you are living, having an increase in self-esteem and energy throughout the day, as well as having reduced stress, cholesterol and blood pressure levels. These help to ensure that a long and healthy life can be possible.

I urge you to try and follow the H.A.E.S approach for a day. Yes, it will be hard because your mindset will need to change completely, but I can almost ensure you that following this approach will make you feel better about yourself.