Stopping the nation-wide diet culture

Last year in December I was asked by Mr Makuuchi, a dietitian in Japan, to present to Japanese health professionals on the topic of Australia's "obesity epidemic".

With my work and value grounded to HAES and Non-Diet approach, I politely declined that I will not present "obesity" as "the problem", together with the many literature and evidence showing the consequences of weight-focused health care and dieting.

He then asked me if there's anything Japan can learn from Australia in terms of food and health.
I shared with him facts and figures on how Australia's health promotion and medical care have largely been focusing on persons' weight, the increase in body weight over the last several decades combined with increase in disordered eating behaviours, weight stigma and the misunderstanding of weight=health, and so on.

The next day we had a date set for a full-day seminar.

A full day introduction to HAES and Non-Diet Approach to Japanese practitioners!

So last Sunday the 16th I had a great pleasure of meeting dietitians, doctors, dentists, media persons and parents who were keen to learn about food and body positive care.
I could hardly take any photos so here are some I've borrowed from Mr Makuuchi's blog.


Some shocking statistics from Japan tell us that 64.1% and 24.1% of teenage girls and boys respectively are attempting weight loss diets.
41 to 68% of girls 6-18 years old have poor body image.
By age 10, 20% of boys and girls have already experienced at least one episode of dieting.

In a culture that glorifies obedience and petite-ness in women we need to stand up strong to protect children (and adults) from getting trapped in the diet cycle.
Perfectionism and "no-pain-no-gain" mentality are common characteristic built into the cultural spirit from a very young age.

Food and eating are hardly ever black or white.
Healthful eating isn't just about nutrients; it's also about how and why you eat.

If the focus on health is forever glued with weight, you are missing out on the many other aspects of health that you have the right to access to.

I was thrilled to hear that all participants found the seminar helpful, informative, interesting, and intriguing.
Non-diet approach can and will grow in Japan.