Health at Every Size

Health at Every Size

Jun 23 2017


Body image is a big deal in the United States. Our media, movies, and television shows have many lean and skinny people. Everyone does not look like this, of course. Statistics show that two of three adults in the US are overweight or obese. They are often stigmatized and criticized for their size.

Some people take dieting too far. Sometimes, they will not eat anything. Other people will exercise, eat healthy food, and still be overweight. Does this mean they are unhealthy? Some people are talking about HAES, Health at Every Size. This idea says that if people exercise and eat right, then it should not matter what size they are.

Gary believes in HAES, but Dominique disagrees. Find out why in today’s English lesson.


Gary: Man, Dominique. I just got back from my family reunion and… my sister, Sue, well, she started believing in HAES, H-A-E-S. Health at Every Size. It’s something that believes that being overweight isn’t mutually exclusive to being unhealthy.
Dominique: Really? Because being obese can lead to health problems down the road.
Gary: It can. It can! Trust me, I have read a lot about this. My sister struggled for a very long time, but… she’s done so much dieting and exercising. And her BMI, her body mass index, hasn’t gone to an unhealthy place. And she’s been stigmatized for years and years about how her metabolism isn’t as fast as everyone else. And… she’s learned to accept that she can be both overweight and healthy.
Dominique: You do realize that your BMI has to do with your weight, so if she’s overweight, then she has a bad BMI.
Gary: That’s true.
Dominique: So then, she’s not healthy at all.
Gary: Well, that’s not true. OK, it’s… the BMI test isn’t for every single person’s needs.
Dominique: I feel like you’re making stuff up. I feel like you’re, like, reading, like, a kid’s book or something because that’s totally nonsense. I mean, they’re mutually exclusive.


Gary saw his sister at a family reunion. His sister believes in HAES, Health at Every Size. HAES means one can be any size and healthy at the same time. Dominique says obesity leads to health problems. Gary agrees. But Gary says his sister exercises, diets, and her body mass index is not unhealthy.

Gary’s sister’s metabolism is not very fast, so she gains weight easily. People stigmatize her for her weight. But she accepts that she is overweight and healthy. Dominique tells Gary that, if she is overweight, she has a bad BMI. Gary comments that a BMI is not always accurate. Dominique feels like Gary is making stuff up. Gary disagrees. He thinks HAES is an interesting idea.

What do you think of Health at Every Size? Can someone be overweight and healthy?

Grammar Point

Verbs with “-ing”

Gary is talking about his sister and HAES (Health at Every Size). He says: “My sister struggled for a very long time, but… she’s done so much dieting and exercising.” He uses verbs with “-ing.”

You’ve probably seen a lot of verbs with -ing at the end of them, like sleeping, talking, or walking. There are two basic reasons to add -ing to the end of a verb: to form one of the progressive tenses or to make a gerund.

We use the progressive tenses to talk about on-going actions. There are progressive tenses for the past, present, and future. For example, the present progressive looks like this: “I am walking to work right now.” Progressive tenses are formed with be + main verb + -ing, as in, “Joe stopped by while I was watching a movie.”

Verbs ending in -ing can also be gerunds, which act like nouns in a sentence. In the sentence, “I do the cleaning and my wife does the cooking,” both cleaning and cooking are gerunds. Gerunds often follow other verbs, as in, “I can’t stop thinking about you,” or “I love skating.”

Similarly, Gary uses two gerunds: “…she’s done so much dieting and exercising.” Both dieting and exercising act like nouns in this sentence.

Which is correct, “She’s done cleaning,” or “She’s done cleaned”?


  1. Which sentence is false?

  2. Gary’s sister does not have a fast __.

  3. Overweight people in the U.S. are often __.

  4. Fill in the Blank: She’s done so much __ around the house.

See the full English lesson at English, baby!