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In this Issue
Other Social Work News
Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Advances Beyond Treatment Options
According to The New York Times, Alzheimer’s treatment options lag behind detection advances, leaving patients and families with more questions than answers.

Charities: Supplies Pose More Challenges Than Cash Donations
NPR reports that while charities appreciate the sentiment, receiving an abundance of supplies presents more logistical difficulties than cash donations.

Lack of Fear, Need for Reward Drives College Alcohol Abuse
According to The Huffington Post, research shows that a lack of fear of negative consequences and a strong need for reward influences stress-related alcohol abuse in college students.

Antismoking Measures Spreading in Large Cities
CNN reports on the growth of antismoking laws in large cities, but areas still remain unprotected from secondhand smoke.
Tech & Tools
Online Access Increases Use
of Clinical Services

Patients with online access to their medical records and secure e-mail communication with clinicians increased their use of clinical services compared with patients who did not have online access. Learn more »

New App Helps Migraine Sufferers Track, Analyze Pain
A new iPhone app developed at the University of Michigan lets patients with migraine or facial pain easily track and record their pain, which in turn helps the treating clinician develop a pain management plan. Learn more »
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Editor's E-Note
If you are now or ever have been overweight or obese, you know that weight discrimination exists. Whether it occurs in the workplace, bullying of heavier children and adults, in the dating arena, or elsewhere, weightism, or the discrimination against those who are classified as overweight or obese by clinical definitions of body mass index, is real.

Taking on weightism as a social justice issue is the purview of social workers in the Health At Every Size (HAES) movement, the topic of this month’s E-News Exclusive. Attuned to the needs of the disenfranchised and underserved, they recognize that the HAES approach has a social justice aspect. With obesity and related diseases more prevalent among lower-income people, weightism targets them and can exacerbate class-consciousness.

Before condemning the HAES approach as encouraging obesity or sending the wrong message about being overweight, read why proponents of this movement see the approach as a shift away from clients’ struggles with shame about body size toward a way for social workers to send positive, weight-neutral messages to weight-conscious clients and patients with the goal of helping them more effectively implement lifestyle changes.

We welcome your comments at SWTeditor@gvpub.com. Visit our website at www.SocialWorkToday.com, join our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter.

Best wishes from all of us at Social Work Today magazine for joyous holidays and a happy, healthy 2013!

— Marianne Mallon, editor
E-News Exclusive
Health At Every Size
By Jennifer Van Pelt, MA

Society tells us that being overweight is unhealthy and unattractive. Now, that viewpoint is beginning to be challenged.

In 2002, a cardiac researcher first documented what is called the “obesity paradox”—that overweight and obesity is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, yet larger individuals have a better survival rate than thinner individuals with the same diseases. Since then, the obesity paradox has been documented in heart failure, diabetes, coronary artery disease, renal disease, stroke, and hypertension (Brown, 2012). And recently, a large Canadian study found that individuals clinically classified as overweight had the lowest mortality risk from any cause (Orpana, Berthelot, Kaplan, Feeny, McFarland, & Ross, 2010). Healthcare and behavioral management strategies focused solely on losing weight to improve health are now being questioned.

The Health At Every Size (HAES) approach is an alternative to the weight-based paradigm that now informs much of medical and public health policy. Described as weight- and size-neutral, the initiative began decades ago, arising from the feminist and body acceptance movements. The Association for Size Diversity and Health, an international professional organization for those committed to HAES, was formed in 2003 to enhance health and wellness via education, research, and services that are free of weight-based assumptions and weight discrimination.

Full Story »
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