Programs that evaluate an individual's height, weight and body composition as a means of assessing overall health and fitness. Included are programs that calculate a person's Body Mass Index (BMI), a figure that is based on the weight (in kilograms) divided by the height (in metres) squared and interpreted using a table which shows value ranges for people who are underweight, have normal weight or are overweight; and those that look at the individual's body weight in terms of percentage of body fat, lean body mass (including organs, muscle and bone) and percentage of body water. Personalized recommendations for nutrition and exercise may also be provided for people with underdeveloped musculature or excessive body fat. These tests may be provided as components of nutrition assessment and prescription services or physical fitness assessment programs, but are often available as separate screenings.
Programs that utilize one or a variety of techniques including nutrition education, exercise, special diets, protein sparing fasting, behaviour modification, hypnosis, medication or surgery to help individuals who have a weight control problem gain or lose weight to achieve a more healthful body weight and develop a lifestyle that allows them to maintain that weight.
Mutual support groups whose members are individuals who have a problem with compulsive eating, who eat the wrong foods or are people who are overweight and are using the group to develop self-esteem and self-confidence, and accept themselves as they are. Also included are groups that are structured specifically for or accept people who have a diagnosed eating disorder. The groups meet in-person, by telephone or via the Internet; provide emotional support, information and resources for those who participate; offer weight loss or weight gain support only, no special diets; and may include faith-based and secular 12-step groups as well as non-12 step groups.
Programs that raise awareness and educate the community about body image and eating issues while promoting normal eating, active living, self-acceptance, and respect and appreciation for size diversity. "Body image" refers to a person's perception of his or her own physical appearance. People with a poor body image perceive their own body as being unattractive or even repulsive to others while people with a good body image, or positive "body acceptance", either see themselves as attractive to others, or are willing accept their body as it is. Concerns about body image have led to poor self-esteem, reluctance to participate in physical activities, preoccupation with weight and dieting and an increase in the likelihood of developing an eating disorder.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.