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Live: Gov. Walz speaks on importance of mental wellness, announces funding of mental health services

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Live: Gov. Walz speaks on importance of mental wellness, announces funding of mental health services

Here are the latest COVID-19 case numbers and developments in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Friday, Nov. 20

  • Walz announces $1.2 million donation from IKEA US Community Foundation to be used for mental health services
  • Minnesota hospitals warn they are running out of healthy staff
  • Walz closes gyms, indoor dining, pauses sports as COVID cases spike
  • 83 of 87 counties now under distance learning recommendations

On Friday, Governor Tim Walz spoke in his fifth press briefing in as many days about the COVID-19 pandemic, just hours before the restrictions put in place earlier this week will come into effect.

Today he said he wanted to acknowledge the mental health issues some may be experiencing.

“It’s perfectly normal,” he said, to be experiencing anxiety right now, and Minnesota will be putting money to help people who are struggling.

“Today I’m announcing the IKEA US Community Foundation is donating 1.2 million dollars to the state of Minnesota,” he said. Those funds will provide resources to student mental health programs. $3 million of Minnesota’s CARES Act funding will also go toward mental health services.

Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan said that it is important for Minnesotans to focus on mental health now more than ever.

“We’re in this together,” she said. “Getting the help that you need is not shameful, it’s not embarrassing, it’s human and it’s necessary. Being able to lean on one another and ask for additional support is how we will sustain ourselves and get to the other side of this pandemic.”

Jody Nelson, executive director of Change Inc., said that she and other mental health providers made the change to telehealth when the pandemic began. Change Inc. has tried to find new ways to deliver services, such as through socially distanced “walk-and-talk” sessions.

“This additional funding allows us to continue to be innovative in our outreach,” she said.

Walz added that Minnesota is still working to provide more funding to other industries, including the hospitality industry.

“We can’t wait on Washington,” he said. “I’m doing all we can, I’m putting the best minds together to see what we can do. It won’t be enough, but we need to do something in the short-term here to provide a bit of a lifeline to these folks. The closing of these businesses is in the public good, but all of us share a responsibility to try and help out.”

He also explained that in response to a list of requests from Hospitality Minnesota for how to best support the industry, he feels there is close to unanimity around the urgency of those needs. Walz said he will do all he can, and hopes that a bill can be moved through the Minnesota Legislature to support them, but reiterated the need for the federal government to take action.

New numbers released Friday by the Minnesota Department of Health show deaths and new cases of COVID-19 remain high across the state, though both categories dipped slightly from Thursday’s record numbers.

The 68 deaths reported in the past 24 hours is the second-highest daily total since the pandemic started, four less than Thursday’s 72, and Friday marks the third consecutive day that deaths are at 67 or above.

In total, 3,150 Minnesotans have lost their lives to coronavirus. Of those deaths 2,159, or 68% of them, are tied to assisted living or long-term care settings.

MDH says 6,812 new COVID cases were reported, based on the results from 58,622 tests (54,228 PCR tests, 4,396 Antigen tests) processed in private and state labs. State health officials say positive PCR tests are confirmed cases, while positive Antigen tests are considered probable cases.

The new cases bring the statewide total to 256,700. Of those cases 3,984 are attributed to Antigen tests (considered probable).

Hospitalizations have climbed to 14,462 since the pandemic hit Minnesota, with 3,387 of those patients requiring care in the ICU.

Recoveries in the state have hit a new milestone, with more than 200,000 people who once tested positive for the virus no longer needing to be isolated.

Young adults continue to be a major concern for state health officials. Those age 20 to 24 make up the largest group of coronavirus cases, with 28,953 and two deaths, followed by people 25 to 29 with 24,081 cases and three fatalities. The 30 to 34 demographic accounts for 21,892 cases and nine deaths.

The largest grouping of deaths from the virus involves people 85 to 89, with 579 fatalities in just 3,187 confirmed cases.

Hennepin County has the most COVID activity in the state with 55,721 cases and 1,075 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 23,623 cases and 457 deaths, and Anoka County with 18,296 cases and 208 fatalities.

Cook County in northeastern Minnesota has the least COVID activity, with just 54 cases and zero deaths, followed by Lake of the Woods County with 78 cases and one death.

Minnesota hospital executives are warning residents that they are running out of staff to care for COVID-19 patients.

Gov. Tim Walz held a news conference with hospital leaders and Minnesota health officials Thursday ahead of new restrictions going into effect Friday night.

“It pains me beyond belief to know with almost certainty” that every day will be a new record for COVID-19 deaths, Walz said. “That will be more of a norm than an anomaly.”

Minnesota health officials reported 72 deaths Thursday, the new daily record, along with nearly 8,000 new cases.

Walz said he knows the decision to “pause” for a few weeks is hard.

“Your lives have been disrupted for the better part of eight months and you have another disruption,” he said. “I see and hear you but I am convinced… that in the long run the lives we save and the disruption that happens now lead us to a better opportunity both from a health perspective and from an economic perspective.”

Walz said the hope now is to hit the peak and come back down.

RELATED: Open, or closed? Your questions answered about Walz’s COVID-19 restrictions

“These are the people that I’m listening to,” Walz said of the hospital leaders who were scheduled to speak with him on Thursday. “Every health care system in Minnesota agrees with the moves that we are making.”

Walz said they’re trying to craft that “very narrow line” between keeping people safe and allowing Minnesotans to do what they need to do to be financially stable, and also to be emotionally and mentally healthy.

Penny Wheeler, CEO of Allina Health, said Allina is currently taking care of one in four hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the state. She thanked Walz and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Jan Malcolm for the steps they are taking “to try to help us.”

“There is nothing worse as a care provider than to think that you can’t adequately care for someone in front of you who needs your services, and we’re getting to that point,” Wheeler said.

She said that because community spread is happening so rapidly, Allina has 800 people out of work due to COVID-19. The Mayo Clinic also reported 900 staff members out this week.

“We need you to take care for us,” she said. “If I could get down on my knees and you could still see me above the podium I would do so. We need your help terribly.”

Wheeler reminded Minnesotans that there are promising vaccines on the horizon and health experts know more about COVID-19 than ever before.

“It’s not forever,” she said. “We just need a bridge so that we don’t become overwhelmed and unable to take care of the community.”

Wheeler said they are getting “perilously close” to that point.

Cindy Smith, co-CEO at Carris Health based in Willmar, said rural Minnesota hospitals are on GFN.

“We’re caring for a rapidly increasing number of COVID patients in our communities,” she said. “With forecasted projections and without action we’ll be in crisis all too soon.”

Smith said the Willmar facility is serving as a southern hub, keeping COVID patients away from the CentraCare St. Cloud Hospital so that patients with other medical crises can be taken care of in St. Cloud.

“We’ve found ourselves in dire straits,” she said.

Smith said that they’re having to delay surgeries or provide alternative sites, difficult decisions for doctors to make. They are also opening a COVID-only hospital in Sauk Centre.

She said “stuff, space and staff” are the primary concerns when it comes to caring for COVID-19 patients.

The testing supplies, ventilators and PPE they needed in the beginning are pretty well supplied, she said, and space is not an issue. Staff is the problem.

In rural Minnesota, Smith said her system had 1,200 people out recently, either with COVID, on quarantine, or taking care of ill family members.

“We don’t have anybody to replace those people,” she said. “We could have piles of PPE and hundreds of beds and none of that matters if we don’t have the people to care for our patients.”

Beyond that, Smith said, her staff members are exhausted. And there is no one to call for backup.

Smith said it’s “heartbreaking” for hospital staff to finish a shift, go to the store and see people without masks on.

“Don’t call health care workers heroes if you can’t put a piece of cloth or paper over your mouth to protect them.”

Smith asked Minnesotans to wear a mask, social distance and stay home.

“We’re begging you,” Smith finished. “Help us help you.”

Dr. Carolyn McClain also spoke at the news conference to offer a perspective on being an emergency physician at this time.

“This has been one of the hardest times in my life,” she said. “I’ve worked in Haiti after the earthquake, and you could go home. And this is my home and I’m watching people die. And that is hard, and it’s been going on for a long time.”

She said with staffing shortages they have to do more shifts, and because people are isolated and hospitalized alone, they take their work home with them more than before.

“You feel like you have to love them a little bit more because they don’t have their family with them,” she said.

McClain described having to tell a patient in his 90s that he had COVID-19.

He said to her, “Dr. McClain, I don’t think I’ve been this scared since I fought in Korea.”

Walz said the health care workers are not there to support him – he’s there to support them. He urged Minnesotans to direct any anger at him – and then to follow health precautions not for him, but for them.

“Don’t do them because I asked you, don’t do them because I made an executive order,” he said. “They are telling you an authentic, lived experience that is playing out across this state and across this nation. And we do have the power to do something about it. We are not helpless here.”

Allina CEO Penny Wheeler responded to a question about people who insist on having friends over for Thanksgiving, despite the governor’s order.

She said she knows it’s hard to not be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with loved ones.

“We all know that,” she said. “We don’t get to either.”

But Wheeler said of the hospital workers she represents, “They’re gonna be watching people die that day. And they don’t want to watch you die at Christmas. So please don’t. Just this year, please don’t.”

When asked how soon they will run out of staff, Cindy Smith with Carris Health told reporters, “I don’t know.” She said she still has people tell her, “I don’t believe you. You’re a liar. It’s a hoax.”

Commissioner Malcolm said that with the volume of new cases Minnesota is seeing, MDH is looking at adjusting its contact tracing strategy.

“It’s really hard to even find hotspots in the middle of a raging forest fire,” she said.

Gov. Walz said he, Malcolm and other state leaders share Minnesotans’ stress.

“It’s OK to not be OK,” Walz said.

He acknowledged that Malcolm has lost her spouse and her mother since the COVID-19 pandemic began. He shared a story about MDH staff saying the names of each person who has died from COVID-19 every day, to make sure the numbers remain human.

“All of us know what it’s like to lose a loved one,” he said. “These emotions are raw for the families of 3,000 Minnesotans.”

Walz said he will go to his grave not understanding the division around COVID-19, but said it is not too late to change the narrative.

“It is not too late to turn this around,” he said.

Minnesota continues to push the COVID-19 curve upward, with state health officials reporting a new single-day high in deaths Thursday.

Numbers released by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reflect 72 more deaths from the virus, up five from the previous high of 67 reported just one day earlier. That brings Minnesota’s total fatalities to 3,082 since the start of the pandemic.

MDH reports 7,877 new cases of coronavirus, second only to the 8,703 cases reported last Saturday. Those new cases are based on the results of 56,820 tests processed in private and state labs. Of those tests, 1,733 are antigen tests where a positive result indicates a probable case. The remainder, 55,087, are PCR tests, which indicate a confirmed case.

Minnesota has now recorded 249,906 total cases.

Earlier, Gov. Tim Walz reported death and case numbers to the Minnesota Executive Council that were a bit higher than those released by MDH Thursday. Walz told the council that health officials would report 76 deaths, and at least 8,000 cases of COVID-19.

Total hospitalizations are now at 14,171 since the pandemic arrived in Minnesota, with 3,346 of those patients requiring care in the ICU. Currently 1,751 hospital beds across the state are being used by COVID patients, with 367 of those beds located in the ICU. Both of those numbers are single-day records.

Health officials say 198,365 people who at one time tested positive for the virus have recovered to the point they no longer require isolation.

Young adults ages 20 to 24 make up the largest portion of Minnesota’s COVID-19 cases with 28,387 and two deaths, followed by 25 to 29-year-olds with 23,552 cases and three deaths. Those 85 to 89 account for the largest grouping of deaths with 563 in 3,116 cases.

Hennepin County has the most COVID activity in the state with 54,662 cases and 1,066 deaths, followed by nearby Ramsey County with 23,071 cases and 450 fatalities. Anoka County reports 17,859 cases and 203 coronavirus deaths.

Cook County has the least COVID activity with 50 cases and zero fatalities, followed by Lake of the Woods County with 78 cases and one death.

Full distance learning is now recommended across nearly the entire state of Minnesota, based on updated data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health. The latest Safe Learning Plan guidance shows full distance learning recommended in 83 of Minnesota’s 87 counties.

The latest guidance is based on county-level case data per 10,000 people for the two-week period from Oct. 25 through Nov. 7. Many counties reported more than 100 cases per 10,000 people over that time period.

Only Cook, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods and Watonwan counties have slightly lower case rates and fall into a lower category, where state guidance recommends hybrid learning for elementary schools and distance learning in secondary schools.

State officials have emphasized that this case data alone does not automatically determine the learning plan for a particular county or school district, but is meant to be used as guidance in each district’s decision-making process.

According to the state’s Safe Learning Plan, the county case data leads to five recommended learning models:

  • 0-9 cases per 10,000: In-person learning for all students
  • 10-19 cases per 10,000: In-person learning for elementary students, hybrid learning for secondary students
  • 20-29 cases per 10,000: Hybrid learning for all students
  • 30-49 cases per 10,000: Hybrid learning for elementary students, distance learning for secondary students
  • 50 or more cases per 10,000: Distance learning for all students

KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and see what businesses are open as the state slowly lifts restrictions. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11. 

The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.

Fashion

The truth about fast fashion: can you tell how ethical your clothing is by its price?

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What is the true cost of a Zara hoodie? In April 2019, David Hachfeld of the Swiss NGO Public Eye, along with a team of researchers and the Clean Clothes Campaign, attempted to find out. They chose to analyse a black, oversized top from Zara’s flagship Join Life sustainability line, which was printed with lyrics made famous by Aretha Franklin: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T: find out what it means to me”. It was an apt choice, because the idea was to work out whether any respect had been paid to the workers involved in the garment’s production, and how much of the hoodie’s average retail price, €26.66 (£22.70), went into their pockets.

This was no simple assignment. It took several people six months, involved badgering Zara’s parent company, Inditex, over email, slowly getting limited information in return, and interviewing dozens of sources on the ground in Izmir, Turkey, where the garment was made. The researchers analysed financial results and trading data, and consulted with experts in pricing and production. It was, Hachfeld says on the phone, with dry understatement, “quite a huge project”.

Their research suggested that the biggest chunk of the hoodie’s retail price – an estimated €10.26 – went back into Zara, to cover retail space and staff wages. The next biggest slice, after VAT at €4.44, was profit for Inditex/Zara, at €4.20. Their research suggested that the textile factory in Izmir received just €1.53 for cutting the material, sewing, packing and attaching the labels, with €1.10 of that being paid to the garment workers for the 30-minute job of putting the hoodie together. The report concluded that workers could not have received anything like a living wage, which the Clean Clothes Campaign defined, at the time the report was released, as a gross hourly wage of €6.19.

When the research was covered by the media at the time, Zara said the report was “based on erroneous premises and inaccurate reporting”, that the €7.76 sourcing price was wrong and that the workers were “paid more than the amounts mentioned in Public Eye’s report”. But at the time and when I contacted Zara for this article, the company declined to set out in greater detail where the research was inaccurate.

Workers in a small garment factory in Istanbul
Workers in a small garment factory in Istanbul. Photograph: NurPhoto/Getty Images

What is clear is that trying to find out the true production cost of a garment is a tortuous and potentially fruitless process – even when assessing a major high street retailer’s flagship “sustainability” line.

Hachfeld points out that Zara is by no means uniquely opaque. It is doing more than many clothing brands and has long-term commitments in place to work towards living wages. “They are launching initiatives and consultations with trade unions. But the question remains: when will they deliver on it?” he says. Vanishingly few retailers guarantee living wages across their vast, complex supply chains. According to the not-for-profit group Fashion Revolution, only two of the world’s 250 largest fashion brands (OVS and Patagonia) disclose how many of their workers are paid a living wage – despite the kind of resources that make billionaires of founders. Forbes estimates that Zara’s founder, Amancio Ortega, is worth $77bn (£55bn) and that H&M’s founder, Stefan Persson, is worth $21.3bn; the Sunday Times puts the wealth of Boohoo’s co-founder, Mahmud Kamani, at £1.4bn.

Throughout fashion, the numbers just don’t add up. High-street clothing has been getting cheaper and cheaper for decades. A major reason why, according to Gordon Renouf, the CEO of the fashion ethics comparison app Good on You, is that so many western brands have “moved from onshore production 40 years ago to larger offshore production”. Often, the countries they have chosen have “much lower wage costs, weaker labour movements and laxer environmental regulations”. Of course, we know all this, but we have also become accustomed to reaping the benefits. Our perception of what clothing should cost – and how much of it we need – has shifted.

In 1970, for example, the average British household spent 7% of its annual income on clothing. This had fallen to 5.9% by 2020. Even though we are spending less proportionally, we tend to own more clothes. According to the UN, the average consumer buys 60% more pieces of clothing – with half the lifespan – than they did 15 years ago. Meanwhile, fashion is getting cheaper: super-fast brands such as Shein (which sells tie-dye crop tops for £1.49) and Alibaba (vest tops for $2.20), have boomed online, making high-street brands look slow-moving and expensive by comparison.

But the correlation between price and ethics is knotty, to say the least. The conversation about sustainable fashion tends to be dominated by expensive designer brands: at Stella McCartney, for example, a wool-cotton jumper costs £925; at Another Tomorrow, each $520 sustainable viscose carbon-offset scarf neck blouse features a QR code in the label that outlines every stage of its “provenance journey”.

On the high street, many who proudly opt out of shopping at Primark or Boohoo for ethical reasons may be unaware that most reassuringly mid-priced brands don’t guarantee workers living wages or produce clothing without using environmentally harmful materials. A garment’s price is often more about aspiration and customer expectation than the cost of production. Hachfeld points out that the Zara hoodie was priced higher in Switzerland (CHF 45.90; €39.57), where Zara is positioned as a mid-range brand, than in Spain (€25.95), where it is perceived as more mainstream and affordable.

Another Tomorrow scar-neck blouse.
‘Provenance journey’ … Another Tomorrow scarf neck blouse.

Online, debates about the price of clothing can get heated. The sustainable-fashion writer Aja Barber, for example, uses the phrase “exploitation prices” to refer to very cheap clothes, such as the 8p bikini offered by the Boohoo brand Pretty Little Thing last autumn. “Either the company or the garment worker is taking the hit, and most likely it’s not the company, because that wouldn’t be a profitable business model,” she says.

Barber has a personal threshold in mind when she buys an item. “Any time a dress is under £50, you really need to break down the labour on it,” she says. “Think about what you get paid hourly – think, could a person make this dress in three hours?” She doesn’t base this calculation on local wages in the global south, either, which are so much lower “because of years of colonialism and oppression”. She buys new clothes infrequently and tries to avoid polyester, which is made with fossil fuels and generally used in garments to make them cheaper.

Barber gets annoyed by the accusations of snobbery that ripple through social media when anyone criticises super-cheap brands. Largely, she says, these comments come from middle-class people “who want to participate in the system and not feel bad about it”. In her view, fast fashion is propped up not by those with very low disposable incomes, but by middle-class overconsumption.

The only way to tell if a garment has been ethically produced is by combing through the details on the manufacturer’s website (although many brands give little or no information) and checking out its rating on Good on You, which compares fashion brands on the basis of their impact on the planet, people and animals. Even among brands that have launched with sustainability as their USP, greenwashing is rife. Renouf warns against those that talk vaguely about being “natural” and “fair”, or bang on about recycled packaging, without giving details about, say, the materials they use or whether they engage with unions in their factories.

For the fashion retailer Sam Mabley, the idea that fashion can be ethical only if it is expensive is a myth. Mabley runs a sustainable fashion store in Bristol; he thought it was a shame that he was selling so many ethical T-shirts at around the £30 price point. Usually, he says, such T-shirts are created in small batches, by “cool indie brands who do printed designs – a lot of the work is in the design”. He decided to invert that business model, ramping up the scale in order to get bigger discounts from suppliers and creating plain, organic cotton, ethically produced Ts in black and white for £7.99. With just a month of social media promotion, he secured 4,000 orders.

A model wears a Yes Friends T-shirt by Sam Mabley
‘Buying power’ … a Yes Friends T-shirt by Sam Mabley.

He believes it would be fairly easy for fast-fashion brands to use their buying power to “drive change for millions of workers around the world” and guarantee their factories paid living wages, without drastically affecting their margins. He is not alone in this view: Jenny Hulme, the head of buying at the sustainable fashion mainstay People Tree, believes ethical production is necessary and possible in every part of the market. “If you order in big volumes, it does reduce price – if a company really wants to improve, it can,” she says.

The reality of high-street clothes shopping is still very far from this ideal. Apart from a few “sustainable” lines produced by the big fast-fashion brands – which I am loath to recommend, because of so many accusations of greenwashing – it is almost impossible to find new, ethical clothing at rock-bottom prices, because the business models that have enabled clothing to get this cheap rely on inexpensive, environmentally damaging fabrics and very low wages.

That may leave anyone wanting to dress ethically on a high-street purse feeling out of options, although Renouf points out that buying better is possible at every budget. That is why, he says, Good on You aims to “provide ratings for as many brands as possible, rather than simply promoting the most sustainable brands”. You could, for example, move from an ultra-rapid fashion brand to a more engaged high-street fast-fashion brand, which might not cost much more, but still could constitute progress.

Buying fewer, but better-quality, items might save you money overall and is the most consistent advice you will hear from fashion campaigners. “Buy the best quality that you can afford, perhaps in end-of-season sales or by buying a thick jumper in the middle of summer to wear the next winter,” says Hulme.

Stepping out of the trend cycle, and avoiding brands that trade on planned obsolescence, is another avenue to explore. For example, Patrick Grant, a judge on the BBC’s The Great British Sewing Bee, explains that his Community Clothing brand aims to give shoppers more bang for their buck by stocking basics rather than continually designing new collections (it also does without retail space and marketing). Working to slimmer margins means he can invest in good fabric, but keep prices fairly low: his £49 hoodies are made from 470g 100% loopback cotton, a thicker, more durable fabric than you might find for a similar price on the high street.

A blazer from ethical brand Lora Gene
A blazer from the ethical brand Lora Gene. Photograph: Lora Gene

For those who can afford mid-high street prices, researching small, sustainable brands might glean results. A quick look at the Zara website today shows silk dresses selling for as much as £199, with plenty of others at £49.99, while H&M-owned &OtherStories sells blazers for about £120; Barber points out that at these prices, shoppers could switch to ethical brands including Lora Gene, for which she has designed a collection, and Ninety Percent. (There is a dress I like the look of for £64 in the Ninety Percent sale; a mustard Lora Gene blazer is £139.)

If those prices are out of reach, swapping clothes, shopping secondhand, repairing and rethinking what you already have, and occasionally renting for special occasions can all be cheaper – even free – alternatives.

Voting with your wallet will only go so far, however, and won’t be possible for many people who are struggling, as the number of people in poverty in the UK soars to 15 million. Questioning the magical thinking of rock-bottom prices is not about blaming the consumer. Instead, you could write to MPs and CEOs and demand that they do something about living wages and the environmental cost of fashion. The responsibility lies with brands, and with the government, which should be held to account for a broken system.

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What Is Health at Every Size (HAES)? The Approach Focuses on Health vs. Weight

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What Is Health at Every Size (HAES)? The Approach Focuses on Health vs. Weight
anti diet special report bug

Whenever we go to the doctor’s office — whether it’s for an annual physical or a sore throat— one of the first things we do is step on a scale. For some of us, it’s a fraught moment: Will the number be higher or lower than last time? How will we feel about that? And folks in larger bodies, especially, may wonder: What will my doctor think about that?

In a paper published in 2014, researchers found that 21% of patients with BMIs in the “overweight” and “obese” ranges felt that their doctor “judged them about their weight” — and as a result, they were significantly less likely to trust their doctor or even to return for follow-up care. And research shows that this lack of trust is valid: Doctors are more likely to be biased against patients with high BMIs, and that this impacts the quality of the medical care they receive.

After analyzing audio recordings of 208 patient encounters by 39 primary care physicians, scientists found that doctors established less emotional rapport with their higher weight patients, according to a study published in a 2013 issue of the journal Obesity. Other studies have found that this lack of rapport makes doctors more likely to deem a higher-weight patient as “noncompliant” or “difficult,” often before the exam has even begun. And for women, gender non-conforming folks, people of color and people with low socioeconomic status, a doctor’s weight bias may intersect with other biases and potentially make the situation worse.

Medical weight stigma can have dire consequences. When patients delay healthcare because they’re worried about discrimination, they miss regular screening exams and are more likely to be much sicker by the time doctors do see them, which is one of the reasons why some people assume everyone in a larger body is unhealthy and observe correlations (but not causations) between higher body weight and chronic health conditions that benefit from good preventative healthcare.

At the same time, provider bias can lead doctors to under-treat or misdiagnose their larger patients in all sorts of ways. Patients in larger bodies with eating disorders tend to struggle longer and be sicker when they finally do get treatment, because doctors can ignore their symptoms — or even praise their disordered eating when it results in weight loss. Weight stigma also causes doctors to overlook problems that aren’t about weight. For example, in May 2018, a Canadian woman named Ellen Maud Bennett died only a few days after receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis; in her obituary, her family wrote that Bennett had sought medical care for her symptoms for years, but only ever received weight loss advice.

Because of this mounting evidence about the health consequences of medical anti-fat bias, some providers are starting to shift their medical practices to what’s known as the “Health at Every Size” approach, the purpose of which is to take the focus off a person’s weight, and instead look more holistically at their overall health. Of course, many doctors are still using scales and prescribing weight loss. But the Health at Every Size movement can be a model for health and wellness that you can adopt for yourself, too.


anti diet special report bug

While only a fifth of the 600 respondents in a 2012 survey perceived weight-related judgment from PCPs, they were significantly less likely to report high trust in these doctors.


So, what is Health at Every Size?

Most doctors today approach health through what’s known as the “weight-centric” model, where weight is viewed as one of, if not the, most important marker of health. In the weight-centric model, if the patient is in a larger body, many conditions are treated primarily through the prescription of weight loss. Health at Every Size, commonly known as HAES (pronounced “hays”), is an alternative approach, also sometimes referred to as a “weight-inclusive” model of healthcare.

HAES originated in the fat acceptance movement and was further popularized by Lindo Bacon, Ph.D., a weight science research and associate nutritionist at the University of California, Davis, who wrote the book Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight in 2010 and hosts the HAES Community website. “Health at Every Size is the new peace movement,” writes Bacon. “It is an inclusive movement, recognizing that our social characteristics such as our size, race, national origin, sexuality, gender, disability status and other attributes, are assets and acknowledges and challenges the structural and systemic forces that impinge on living well. It also supports people of all sizes in adopting healthy behaviors.” (If you’re interested, more information about the history and philosophy of HAES is available from the Association for Size Diversity and Health.)

HAES-informed practitioners do not routinely weigh patients, or use weight to determine how healthy a person is. Instead, they look at other biomarkers, like blood pressure and cholesterol levels, to assess physiological health. And they consider how various social, economic and environmental factors in a person’s life impact their ability to pursue health. Translation: Instead of assuming you’re lazy or uninformed if you aren’t exercising or eating vegetables, a HAES-aligned doctor will ask about your schedule, responsibilities and priorities, to see what kind of barriers you face to adopting a regular workout routine. And they’ll take into consideration whether or not you live near a grocery store, have time to cook, or can otherwise easily access healthier food.

This doesn’t mean a HAES provider won’t ever encourage you to be more active or change your eating habits; it means they’ll only recommend changes that are attainable and realistic for you. And, most crucially, they won’t be telling you to do these things to lose weight. In the HAES model, weight loss is never a goal of treatment because your body is never viewed as a problem to be solved. You have the right to pursue health in the body you have, rather than waiting for that body to change in order to be deemed healthy.

But isn’t it unhealthy to be fat?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not inherently unhealthy to be fat. Research shows that the relationship between weight and health is much less clear-cut than we’re often told. Weight may be a correlating factor in health conditions like diabetes and heart disease, but scientists haven’t been able to prove that a high body weight causes such diseases. In some cases it may contribute, or it may be simply another symptom of a different root cause. (Consider how smoking can cause both lung cancer and yellow teeth — but nobody assumes that yellow teeth cause lung cancer.)

In fact, weighing more can actually protect you against certain health problems, including osteoporosis and some kinds of cancer. Heart surgery patients with higher BMIs also tend to have better survival rates than their thinner counterparts. The fact that a high body weight actually helps you survive major illness could explain why overweight and low-obese BMIs have the overall lowest risk of dying compared to other weight categories, according to data first published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005. In short, it is absolutely possible to be fat and fit.

Even if you live in a larger body and do have health conditions often assumed to be weight-linked, there is good evidence that you can treat those problems and improve your health without pursuing weight loss. In a 2012 GFN of almost 12,000 adults, researchers found that lifestyle habits were a better predictor of mortality than BMI because regardless of their weight class, people lived longer when they practiced healthy habits like not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily and exercising 12 or more times per month.

That’s good news because despite how often doctors prescribe it, we don’t have a safe and durable way for most people to lose significant amounts of weight. That’s because our bodies are programmed to fight weight loss, for our own good. According to an evidence review of common commercial weight loss protocols first published in 2007, and later updated in 2013: People lose some weight in the first nine to 12 months of any diet, but over the next two to five years, they gain back all but an average of 2.1 pounds. And dieting and “weight cycling” in this way can increase your risk for disordered eating and other health problems.


anti diet special report bug

In a University of South Carolina study, all of the men and women followed over the course of 170 months benefited from the adoption of healthy habits, no matter their size.

How do I practice HAES — and how do I get my doctor on board?

Practicing Health at Every Size will look different for everyone, because that’s part of its beauty: You get to decide your own health priorities and can focus on the goals that are accessible and realistic for your life, rather than following a doctor’s “one size fits all” approach to health. But there is one universal tenet: Your weight is no longer part of the conversation. That might mean that you ditch your scale, stop dieting and exercising for weight loss, start to explore intuitive eating and joyful movement — or all of the above.

But while there is growing awareness of HAES in the medical community, it is not the default approach in most healthcare offices. To find doctors or other practitioners in your area who identify as HAES-aligned, you can start by checking the HAES provider directory. But if not, it may be possible to have a productive conversation with your current doctor about why you’d like to take the focus off your weight. One simple way to set this boundary is to decline to be weighed at the start of the visit.

You may worry that the doctor’s office won’t allow you to skip the routine weigh-in, but you have a right to refuse to be weighed, says Dana Sturtevent, R.D., a dietitian and co-founder of Be Nourished, a nonprofit organization in Portland, Oregon, which offers workshops, retreats and e-courses for healthcare providers on how to offer trauma-informed and weight-inclusive care. “This can be a very real and potentially vulnerable step towards self-care,” she says. If your doctor objects, you can ask: “How will this information be used?” There are times when a weight is medically necessary, such as when it’s needed to determine the correct dosing of certain medication. If that’s the case, you can ask to be weighed with your back turned to the scale so you can’t see the number. But if you’re told it’s routine or that they just need to write it down for insurance purposes, you can ask that they write “patient declined” instead.

It can also help to give your doctor a heads up that you would prefer not to discuss weight or weight loss at your appointment. If you feel anxious about bringing this up in the exam room, you can download this letter, created by HAES providers Louise Metz, MD., and Anna Lutz, R.D., to send ahead or give to the nurse who takes your vitals at the start of the appointment. Dr. Metz has also collaborated with health coaches Ragen Chastain and Tiana Dodson to create the HAES Health Sheets Library, which contains downloadable fact sheets on how to treat conditions commonly linked to weight from a HAES perspective.

If your doctor persists in a weight-focused approach to your care, remember that you have the right to switch providers. But more importantly: “Remember that you are not required to be a certain weight in order to be worth of love, respect, belonging or decent medical care,” says Sturtevent. “Your body is your body.”

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9 Amazon Fashion Brands You Need to Be Shopping

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9 Amazon Fashion Brands You Need to Be Shopping

You’re already well-acquainted with Amazon as your shopping preference for everything from household products to books, tech accessories to groceries. But since 2017 one of the world’s largest retail marketplaces has made a pointed effort to expand past their traditional stock. In less than four years, Amazon has introduced dozens of in-house fashion brands, making their mark on the style world in the process. (And with free speedy shipping on most Amazon Prime items, there’s never been an easier way to do a spot of last-minute shopping).

We’ve gathered the nine standout Amazon fashion brands you need to know below. Whether you’re looking to refresh your underwear drawer, update your closet with some trend-focused finds, or simply add a few wardrobe essentials, the mega-retailer is literally your one-stop destination.

Core 10

What it is: High-quality workout-wear with tons of amazing reviews

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If you’re looking for affordable activewear that performs just as well as brands three times the price, Core 10 is your answer (it comes in extended sizing as well). Sports bras, leggings, shorts, hoodies, and more—it’s got all your workout needs covered.

Highlights include a ’90s-fantastic collaboration with Reebok launched earlier this summer and a “Build your own” legging option. Shoppers can customize their perfect pair with three lengths and three waistband styles, resulting in one shopper saying that they’re the “best leggings [she’s] tried. Hands down.”

Wild Meadow

What it is: Basics with a ’90s feel that all cost less than $30

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Launched this spring, Wild Meadow brings that easy-breezy youthful ’90s vibe and all styles are offered up to a size XXL. The best part? Not a single item costs more than $30, which means you should stock up—ASAP.

In the market for a tie-dye cami dress? A tie-front cropped tee? Still hunting for that perfect slip dress that will take you from day to night with a simple shoe swap? Wild Meadow has you covered with all that and more.

Amazon Essentials

What it is: Non-basic basics that are budget-friendly

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The Amazon Essentials brand includes food, household items—and wardrobe basics. Essentials, yes, but they’re anything but boring. Expect to find everything from floral t-shirt dresses to cozy fleeces, yoga leggings to bathing suits.

It’s affordable—prices are pretty much all under $50, with most under $25—and available in plus sizes. An important-to-know factor that makes this label stand out is how many maternity options there are, should you be in the market. In short, you can curate your entire wardrobe virtually no matter your size, budget, or stage of life.

Goodthreads

What it is: Trend-driven closet essentials

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Goodthreads started as a menswear-only Amazon brand but quickly expanded into the womenswear market. This line has a lot of wardrobe essentials, like button-down shirts, chinos, and sundresses, but they’re a bit more fashion-focused than some of Amazon’s other basics go-tos (like Amazon Essentials).

Here, you’ll find cinched-waist midi dresses, tops with subtly ruffled sleeves, and colorfully striped button-downs. The biggest draw, though, is the denim, which is sold in six different silhouettes, showcasing an impressive number of length and wash options. The size range for Goodthreads is XS-XXL on most pieces.

There is

What it is: Everyday underwear and lingerie, plus great swim options

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Amazon’s own lingerie brand offers everything from underwire bras to slinky slips and lace-trimmed thongs. If you’re looking for underwear or sleepwear of any kind, this is your brand.

For casual everyday wear, Mae offers cotton briefs and bras, lacy bralettes, and future go-to t-shirt bras to name a few. If you’re looking for more of a special lingerie moment, consider their wide selection of sexy, flirty sets and separates. The brand has expanded into swim, shapewear, and pajamas, too.

Daily Ritual

What it is: Comfortable basics that go up to 7X

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Daily Ritual is your go-to for comfortable options that look presentable enough for stepping out with friends or running errands. The brand is known for its selection of casual essentials that are anything but basic, and most items are made of a super soft cotton jersey or fleece.

There’s a bit of everything, including puffer jackets for when temps get chilly, but the majority of the pieces focus on classic cotton tees, joggers, and the like. An impressive amount is offered in plus sizes up to 7X, providing real universal appeal. For the shopper who loves to dress simply, stay comfortable, and look put-together, this is the Amazon fashion brand for you.

The Drop

What it is: Limited-edition collections co-created with some of today’s biggest social stars

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Built on the concept of curated, limited-edition capsule collections that are only promised to be available for a quick 30 hours, The Drop is Amazon’s most coveted line. Each collab is designed and curated by a rotating list of bloggers and influencers uniquely catering to their individual style at affordable prices—it’s either pieces they want for their own wardrobe or have developed a signature look around.

Past influencers to participate include Charlotte Groeneveld of The Fashion Guitar, Leonie Hanne of Ohh Couture, Quigley Goode of Officially Quigley, and more. Depending on the influencer, The Drop could include everything from wrap dresses to faux leather pants; teddy bear shearling coats or shackets. You have 30 hours to order originally, but some styles (like the below) make a reappearance.

Cable Stitch

What it is: Classic knitwear silhouettes, updated

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The name literally says it all: Cable Stitch is the Amazon brand to go to if you love a good knitwear moment. Cardigans, pullovers, dresses…you name it. The range will appeal to minimalists and maximalists alike, with classic solid colors and brightly colored stripes in the mix.

When Amazon creates an entire line centered around knitwear, you know they’re going to go big or go home. You can shop an array of the more unconventional knits that are trending (like side-slit midis and puff-sleeve pullovers) as well as basics. Most pieces retail between $20 and $60, though some outliers will exist from season to season.

The Fix

What it is: Stand-out shoes and bags that can upgrade everything in your closet

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Accessory obsessed? You need to know about The Fix. Specializing in the little pieces that make or break a look, this is your shop for all the trendiest footwear and handbags you’ve been coveting since you first saw them explode on the street style scene.

At The Fix, you can shop heels, flats, sandals, and sneakers in a range of head-turning styles. There are certainly no basics here, with every style boasting at least one special detail that makes them stand out from the rest. Whether that’s an ankle strap or chunky heels covered in velvet, special details let you transform your look by swapping in a new accessory.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

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