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Quantitative Effects of a Fat Studies Class Public Deposited

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  • Fat Studies (FS) is a new interdisciplinary field that addresses oppression based on body weight, shape, and size as it intersects with oppression based on other areas of difference. As such, FS incorporates a weight-neutral approach to health, Health At Every Size® (HAES), that decries weight bias, promotes body self-acceptance regardless of weight, promotes intuitive eating versus restrictive dieting, and promotes physical activity for functional versus aesthetic motives. Since publication of the first comprehensive anthology on the topic (Rothblum & Solovay, 2009), FS scholarship has proliferated. Various journals have dedicated special issues to weight­based oppression, and a FS journal is now in its fourth year of publication. A third Australia-New Zealand FS conference as well as the fourth annual Weight Stigma conference are about to be held this Spring, and professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association now have special interest groups focusing on weight bias and size acceptance. Concomitantly, college courses have begun to incorporate FS pedagogy, with some classes centered entirely on this subject (Watkins, et al., 2012). An anthology on FS pedagogy has just been published (Russell & Cameron, 2016), and several qualitative reports describe outcomes from FS classes. For instance, Watkins (2015) found that students in previous classes often described becoming less weight biased toward others and having improved body image towards themselves. They also described being better able to reject societal standards for appearance as well as replacing dieting and disordered eating behaviors with a more adaptive approach to nutrition and physical activity. Despite these promising findings, quantitative evaluation of FS pedagogy is relatively lacking.
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