Friday, November 19, 2010

NAAFA Press Release:Wrong Turn in Arizona!

For Immediate Release
November 18, 2010

Oakland, CA – NAAFA strongly urges the Unified School District of Flagstaff, AZ to reconsider stigmatizing the entire student segment of the Arizona population they have determined to be overweight or obese or at risk of becoming so.

By sending letters targeted at specific individuals and families, the Flagstaff's medical community are moving down a path that will create an atmosphere of fear and self-loathing. These letters contain dire warnings that the current generation of children will be the first generation in history to have a shorter life span than their parents. This position is not supported by statistical evidence and goes against US government statistics. The Unified School District of Flagstaff approach is short-sighted and will have negative long term efforts for all concerned.

The Academy of Eating Disorders (AED) has developed extensive guidelines for Childhood Obesity Prevention programs. Some of those recommendations include:

-Avoiding using the language of overweight and obesity as this promotes weight-based stigma. Measures should be taken to not use language with implicit or explicit anti-fat messages, `like fat is bad' or fat people eat too much.'
-Interventions should provide diversity training for parents, teachers and school staff for the purpose of recognizing and addressing weight stigma, decreasing weight based bullying and harassment
-Representatives from that community should be included in any planning process to ensure that interventions are sensitive to cultural norms, traditions and practices
-Interventions should have an integrated approach that addresses a variety of factors, encouraging mindful eating, increasing activity and including promotion of self-esteem, and respect for body diversity

NAAFA supports the AED guidelines, as well as the Health at Every SizeSM (HAESSM) tenets which promote that healthy habits are good for EVERYONE, no matter what their size.

NAAFA urges the Flagstaff Unified School District to embrace a HAESSM approach as well as adopt some the AED's guidelines and not target one group of children in a way that objectifies them and makes them the targets of more harassment and bullying.

Founded in 1969, NAAFA is a non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for fat people. NAAFA works to eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide fat people with the tools for self-empowerment through public education, advocacy, and member support.

On the web:

For more information contact:
Peggy Howell, Public Relations Director, NAAFA
email: phone: (707)246-6116

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