There is considerable rhetoric and concern about weight and obesity across an increasing range of national contexts. Alarmist claims about an ‘obesity time-bomb’ are continually recycled in policy reports, reviews and white papers, each of which begin with the assumption that fatness is fundamentally unhealthy and damaging to national economies. With contributions from the UK, Canada, the USA and Australia, this book offers alternative critical perspectives on this alleged public health crisis which were, in part, developed through an Economic and Social Research Council seminar series on Fat Studies and Health at Every Size (HAES). Written by scholars from a range of disciplines and the health professions, themes include: an interrogation of statistical procedures used to construct the obesity epidemic, overweight and obesity as cultural signifiers for Type 2 diabetes, understandings of healthy eating and healthy weight in a ‘problem’ population, gendered expectations on men and women to lose weight, the visual representation of obesity, tensions when researching (anti-)fatness, critical dietitians’ engagement with HAES, alternative ways of promoting physical activity, and representations of obesity in the media.

This book was originally published as a special issue of Critical Public Health.

chapter 1|14 pages

Introduction: Obesity discourse and fat politics: research, critique and interventions

ByLee F. Monaghan, Rachel Colls, Bethan Evans

chapter 8|11 pages

Theorizing health at every size as a relational–cultural endeavour

ByJennifer Brady, Jacqui Gingras, Lucy Aphramor

chapter 9|15 pages

Public health pedagogy, border crossings and physical activity at every size

ByLouise Mansfield, Emma Rich

chapter 10|10 pages

Obesity in the media: social science weighs in

ByNatalie Boero