The Obesity Epidemic
Science, Morality and Ideology
Foreword by Paul Campos
Routledge – 2004 – 232 pages
Increasing obesity levels are currently big news but do we think carefully enough about what this trend actually means? Everybody – including doctors, parents, teachers, sports clubs, businesses and governments – has a role to play in the ‘war on obesity’. But is talk of an obesity ‘crisis’ justified? Is it the product of measured scientific reasoning or age-old ‘habits of mind’? Why is it happening now? And are there potential risks associated with talking about obesity as an ‘epidemic’?
The Obesity Epidemic proposes that obesity science and the popular media present a complex mix of ambiguous knowledge, familiar (yet unstated) moral agendas and ideological assumptions.
'The Obesity Epidemic is a superb contribution to the sociology of knowledge, and an essential text for anyone who wants to understand the current moral panic over fat.' - Paul Campos, University of Colorado, author of The Obesity Myth
'The strength in this book lies in its ability to provide its readers with a critical view of obesity science by challenging them to go beyond traditional thinking … reminding them of the harmful and stigmatizing consequences of adopting a 'war on obesity' mentality … This book is an essential read for anyone who is interested in health, obesity, health promotion, and public health.' - Krista Rondeau, Dieticians of Canada
1. Science and Fatness 2. The War on Obesity 3. The Ghost of a Machine 4. 'Modernity's Scourge': A brief history of obesity science 5. Fat or Fiction: Weighing in the 'obesity epidemic' 6. The search for a cause 7. Obesity Science for the People 8. Feminism and the 'obesity epidemic' 9. Interrogating expert knowledge: risk and the ethics of body weight 10. Beyond Body Weight
Michael Gard is Senior Lecturer in Physcial Education at Charles Sturt University, Australia.
Jan Wright is a Professor of Education and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Education at the University of Wollongong, Australia.