Friday, December 9, 2016

2013 Healthy Weight Week Body Image Awards

1407672_water_liliesNext week is Healthy Weight Week and along with it come the annual Body Image Awards, given to those who are making a difference when it comes to how we think about beauty, weight and ourselves.  This year’s winners are:

  • Israel received the Redefining Beauty award for its new law (!) that requires models to present their employers with a doctor’s current certificate showing they meet a minimum BMI.  It’s still a pretty low BMI — 18.5 — but it does set the bar quite a bit higher than it commonly is today.  The law also requires that ads featuring digitally reduced images must be clearly marked in a prominent place that they are manipulated to  make the model appear thinner.  Definitely a law that we need to emulate here in the U.S. 
  • The award for Promoting a Realistic Body Image went to 14-year-old Julia Bluhm of Waterville, Maine, who launched a crusade against airbrushed images in Seventeen magazine.  She obtained more than 80,000 on a petition that called for the magazine to print one unaltered photo spread each month.  Seventeen issued a policy statement that the magazine “never has, never will” digitally alter body or face shapes of its models but did have their entire staff sign an 8-point Body Peace Treaty that promises not to alter natural shapes and include only images of “real girls and models who are healthy.”  As a result, other young activitists are taking on Teen Vogue in an online petition.  The pledge did not include ads in Seventeen so it’s unclear if the many pages filled with ads will be affected.
  • Psychologist Deb Burgard, PhD, is honored with the Weight Stigma Awareness award for her many years of leadership in increasing awareness of weight stigma.  The co-author of Great Shape: The First Fitness Guide for Large Women, published in 1988, Burgard writes and speaks frequently on the topic of weight stigma and the need for size acceptance.  For large persons, Burgard says, “You have to strengthen your “emotional immune system” to withstand the culture’s nasty message about femaleness and fatness and failure — and work to change the culture — and there is joy even in this.” You go, Deb!

Healthy Weight Week is the third full week in January each year and features Body Image Awards as well as the Slim Chance Awards, which identify the previous years’ worst products that make false promises about weight management.   I was honored to be a judge for this year’s Body Image Awards along with Francie Berg, the founder of Healthy Weight Week.

We’ve got some exciting news in store about Healthy Weight Week in the coming year.  But for now, please keep in mind who you’d like to nominate for next year’s awards.  We’ll be soliciting nominations beginning Fall 2013 so stay tuned!

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RD, CD, is the owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run, a pioneering healthy weight retreat for women, located in beautiful Vermont.

 

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