ABSTRACT

In 2005, results from Statistics Canada’s Community Health Survey showed Newfoundland and Labrador to be the most obese province in Canada, with an obesity rate of 34% (Statistics Canada 2005). This figure served to fuel the fires of a health ‘panic’ in the province, which was beginning to surface prior in 2005 (Beasoleil and Ward 2010; see also Canning, Courage and Frizzell 2004; Department of Health and Community Services 2002; Twells 2005; that positions Newfoundlanders as an obese ‘problem population’ in the Canadian context alongside other ‘problem populations’ such as indigenous peoples and those of low Socio-Economic Status (SES) (Statistics Canada 2005). Many such provincial texts, particularly health policy documents, concentrate on improving Newfoundlanders’ unhealthy eating practices through education and the promotion of Canada’s Food Guide, thus implicitly resting on the notion that Newfoundlanders do not know or understand how to eat healthily. In this way, Newfoundland obesity discourse replicates antiobesity rhetoric in general, which is demonstrative of a

type of biopedagogy, or a ‘practice of teaching life’ (Harwood 2009, 21), that assumes a lack of knowledge and understanding about personal health practices in ‘problem populations,’ and a refusal on the part of individuals to take responsibility for their own health and well-being (Burrows 2009; McPhail, Chapman, and Beagan 2011).