Best Weight: Prioritizing health over weight loss

Health care is for everybody of every size. Health professionals — including those at Primary Care Networks (PCNs) — are embracing a patient-centred Best Weight approach to obesity management thanks to research and education.

Out is the fixation on the weigh scale which can lead to weight bias which can result in weight stigma and discrimination. In is the Best Weight approach focuses on healthy and sustainable lifestyle changes. 

“Rather than focusing on weight outcomes, we suggest encouraging patients to focus on improving overall well-being: both psychological and physical,” says Mikaela Jahrig, a PCN registered dietitian.

Health professionals using this updated best practice can better serve patients by highlighting that regardless of weight, improving overall well-being is the main goal.

Avoiding the dangers of weight bias

“It is important to us that we offer weight inclusive care and empower patients,” adds Jahrig. 

The shift is important because weight bias can lead to pursuing weight loss through unsustainable approaches. This often leads to weight cycling which has a wide range of health risks such as: 

  • higher mortality
  • higher risk of osteoporotic fractures and gallstone attacks  
  • loss of muscle tissue
  • chronic inflammation
  • hypertension 
  • heart disease risk 
  • suppressed metabolism 
  • mental health concerns

“We support patients on their health journey with tools such as Intuitive Eating and promoting healthy behaviours at every size.”

PCN workshops can help

Alberta PCNs offer a variety of free workshops to help people learn about healthy eating. The workshops are led by health professionals including registered dietitians and are offered in-person or online.

Search for a workshop that fits your needs.

Book an appointment with a health professional

PCN Health Teams — many of which include professions like pharmacists, nurses and registered dietitians — can help support healthy eating. Visit your local PCN to learn the programs available to you and book an appointment.

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