HCM October 2020

Page 32



Exercise is being reframed as a way to learn new skills and have fun, rather than as a punishment

Everyone’s talking about

Fat shaming

Bristol University has commited to embracing body positivity, creating more inclusive physical activity environments, rejecting diet culture and raising awareness of eating disorders across its sports and fitness provision. Should the rest of the fitness sector follow suit? Kath Hudson reports


ed by its Student’s Union, Bristol University’s campaign to reject diet culture and weight stigma will see its fitness instructors and sports captains being given bespoke training, which has been created by the university, in collaboration with eating disorder charities, BEAT and WorkEDout. The training will educate those involved with physical activity in creating inclusive environments and updating language so clichés such as “burn those calories” will become a thing of the past. The reasons for doing this are twofold: so those who are vulnerable to eating disorders and over-exercise


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don’t get triggered in a gym environment, and so those who don’t have thin privilege – the ability to go anywhere without being judged for not being the ‘right size’ – feel that they belong too. Bristol University and WorkEDout are keen for the rest of the industry to follow their lead. With both obesity and eating disorders on the rise and costing the NHS millions each year, and with the issue of obesity-related deaths from COVID-19, should Bristol University’s approach become an industry standard? Could this help get more people active and healthy? We ask the experts…