Answer each question with the following scale (Never=0, Rarely=1, Sometimes=2, Often=3, Usually=4)
- When I exercise, my principal motive is compensating for food eaten, or otherwise managing my weight.
- I weigh myself.
- I think negative things about overweight people when I see them or talk with them.
- I have admired slender people and think about how much better my life would be if I were slender.
- I look at myself in the mirror.
- I wear clothes I do not particularly like because they divert attention from my weight.
- I avoid activities that I enjoy because they might call attention to my weight or body shape.
- I think about my body shape.
- My weight or my eating influences how I think about (judge) myself as a person.
- I use the adjective "fat" when I want to make an insulting or disparaging remark about a person.
Answer "True" or "False" for the following questions
- If I could take 15-25 pounds off my body from wherever I choose, and I would be guaranteed that I would not regain it, I would sacrifice five years of my lifespan.
- As I read the word "slob" the first word that comes into my mind is "fat."
- Schools should maintain weight for height standards for participation in dance, cheerleading or drama.
- Regardless of my weight and shape, I like myself. It would not matter if I gained or lost weight, I would still be me, a worthwhile person.
Part 1: Add the numbers for your answers
Part 2: Give yourself 1 point each for the following answers (1=T; 2=T; 3=T; 4=F)
If your score on the first nine items is greater than 26, and your score on the second section is greater than 2, you may be promoting negative attitudes that are part of the cultural foundation of eating disorders.
A 5 Day Lesson Plan Book on Eating Disorders, M.P. Levine and L. Hill (1991), The National Eating Disorder Organization.
Body Wars, Margo Maine (2000), Gurze Books.
What Teachers Can Do
Discourage Dieting. Adopt the NEDA slogan, "Don't Weight Your Self-Esteem - It's What's Inside That Counts"
Practice what you preach. Create a safe environment by eating well-balanced meals, not diet bars or drinks. When you hear teachers talking about "being fat" or going on diets, challenge them. The same goes for kids. Whenever students begin talking negatively about their bodies or about restricting their food intake to lose weight, respond immediately and stress that their bodies need fuel several times daily to be able to think, grow, and be healthy. Remember, internal - not external - beauty is important.
Find out what kids are eating. Encourage the school food service to provide a broad range of meal options. Help students learn to trust their bodies, their hunger, and their ability to self-regulate.
Encourage healthy exercise. Help your school develop physical education programs for all students to enjoy. (One-sixth of school aged children in the U.S. are so weak and uncoordinated that they are considered "physically underdeveloped" by the President's Council of Physical Fitness and Sports).
Teach respect! Establish a zero tolerance stance on teasing, taunting, and negative talk about children's bodies in schools. Treat derogatory behavior the same way you would racial or sexual harassment.
Teach media literacy! Media literate students are more critical consumers because they know that every image, commercial and television show has a message, constructed by an individual or group with a particular agenda of point of view. Create experiential lessons, such as photo shoots and ensuing touch-ups, visiting ad agencies or developing news shows.
Write letters and make phone calls! Survey your school for weightism and do something about it. For example, if P.E. teachers practice routine body fat testing, tell them why that is unacceptable. You might need to take your issue to the administration, in which case you would want to forward copies to local newspapers, radio stations.
Source: Body Wars, Margo Maine (2000), Gurze Books.