We are always happy to point to other organizations that advocate for more integrity within the realm of health. One relatively newcomer on the scene is New Body Ethic.
Co-founded by Patrick Mustain, MPH, MA (writer and multimedia producer for Scientific American’s Food Matters blog) and Kevin Moore (founder of Hong Kong-based Reembody, an online resource for education on kinesiology and exercise psychology), NBE is “a non-profit coalition of health and fitness professionals dedicated to revitalizing the culture of health and fitness.”
Mustain explains more in a recent post titled “The Fitness-Industrial Complex is Deceiving You. We’re Trying to Change That.”
- “A not-so-obvious deception permeates the language from the fitness industry–that dieting and exercise are things that you should be doing in the first place, and that failure to do either stems from a lack of personal responsibility, or some moral deficit.”
- “For most of the history of life, the most important thing, for most people, was obtaining and conserving energy from food. Feeling guilty about eating food, and burning energy just for the sake of burning energy would have made no sense to our ancestors. Of course, 10,000 years ago, we didn’t have cars, escalators, and office jobs. We didn’t drink refined sugar with every meal, we didn’t eat dessert every day, we didn’t shape our children’s food preferences with billions of dollars in marketing, and we didn’t have an industrialized food system dominated by hyper-palatable, energy-dense, nutritionally devoid, highly-processed products.”
- “But being fat is not something that we need to be saved from. What we need to be saved from is an environment unlike anything any living thing has experienced in 4 billion years of evolution. A report from The Lancet concluded: “Obesity is the result of people responding normally to the obesogenic environment they find themselves in.” Let me repeat: responding normally.”
- “There are many health and fitness professionals out there who want to change this culture of fitness. They understand that health and wellness and come from a lifelong process of learning how to take care of one’s body, for the long-term, not the quick fix. They seek to understand the environmental and cultural contexts in which we make our health decisions. They avoid focusing mostly on aesthetic outcomes. Rather, they try to help their clients learn to appreciate their bodies the way they are in the moment, but also to realize the wonderful potential each body holds for overcoming challenges, adapting, and learning new skills and movements.”
There are many parallels to NBE’s concerns about the fitness industry and our concerns about the food industry, mainly in the way both industries place the entire responsibility of health on consumers’ shoulders, without acknowledging how our current environment stacks the deck against health.
PS: NBE is currently collecting signatures for its pledge, which states:
1. Movement is a human right;
2. Appearance isn’t everything;
3. Health is more than an individual choice;
4. Health is not a product;
5. Evidence matters;
6. Clients come first.
Sounds good to us!