- Body diversity is accepted and celebrated. Everyone feels welcome and included.
- People can expect that their bodies will not be talked about in the school community.
- Students and staff are valued for their unique strengths, talents, and contributions and not for their appearance.
- Our collective understanding of health is that it is multidimensional and that weight and health are not simplistically linked.
- Schools are safe places for those who may struggle with weight-related issues.
- Schools are free from diet talk and discussions of weight loss or muscle gain. Conversations are free from talk of calories, portion sizes, BMI, kilograms/pounds.
- Conversations about food are done in a neutral manner, referring to the name of the food itself rather than referring to food as “good,” “bad,” or a “treat.” Food is not used as a reward or punishment.
- Lesson materials, media resources, and visuals in the school positively depict bodies of different size, shape, race, ability, and gender.
- Student learning activities focus on food exploration, food literacy, and age-appropriate skill and knowledge development of healthy eating patterns.
- Students are not weighed at school.
- Proactive practices and corrective policies are in place to eliminate weight-based teasing and bullying.
- Wellbeing is cooperative and collective, not competitive and individual.
- School wellness initiatives focus on everyone feeling better from a multidimensional perspective rather than individual activities tracking movement or eating.
- Physical activity is an opportunity for learning, teamwork, and collective joy.
- Physical activity is promoted as an embodied way to feel well, be outdoors, and connect with others and not as a means to lose weight or change our appearance.
- In staff rooms, classrooms, and common areas, people feel safe to eat their food without judgment or commentary.
- Everyone respects the role they play in school mealtime:
- If providing food, schools determine what is offered in accordance with school nutrition policy or best practice guidance.
- Schools provide clean and comfortable spaces to eat, and enough time to eat.
- Staff create a positive and calm eating environment that is free from distractions so everyone can eat according to their own body cues.
- Students and families choose what food to send to school for lunch or snack. Staff respect the food choices families make.
- Students feel supported in choosing what and how much to eat of their food, and in the order they choose.
- Food is celebrated as a source of connection and cultural tradition.
Moving towards this vision of weight-neutral wellbeing is a process that can take time; be kind to yourself and others as you learn more.
Developed in collaboration with the Body Image Research Lab, Alberta Health Services, and Elk Island Catholic Schools
Photo courtesy of UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Health