RETHINKING OBESITY: Critical Perspectives in Crisis Times

Lee F. Monaghan, Emma Rich, Andrea E. Bombak

Research output: Book/ReportBook

6 Citations (SciVal)


Theoretically informed and empirically grounded, Rethinking Obesity invites readers to reconsider the medical and public health framing of population weight (gain) as a massive global problem, epidemic or crisis. Attentive to social values, scientific uncertainty and possible harms, the book furthers critique of the weight-centred health paradigm and world war on obesity. Building upon existing international literature from critical weight studies, fat studies and critical obesity research, the book advances scholarship with reference to body politics and health policy, epidemiology and obesity science, media reporting and weight-related stigma. The authors resist the common moralised narrative that ‘the overweight majority’ are lazy, gluttonous, and personally responsible for their actual or potential ills and the solution ultimately necessitates individual lifestyle change. Critique is also extended to seemingly compassionate public health interventions that putatively avoid victim-blaming through an appeal to ‘the obesogenic environment’, a consequence of modern living. Empirical case studies are grounded in women’s repeated and often frustrating experiences of dieting and schoolgirls’ encounters with fat pedagogy, which challenges dominant obesity discourse. Recognising that declared public health crises may become layered and cascade through society, this book also includes timely research on the COVID-19 pandemic response amidst concerns about lockdown weight-gain, heightened risk of infection and death among people deemed overweight and obese. Rethinking Obesity interrogates how social injustice is reproduced not only through cruelty but also through seemingly benevolent representations, pedagogies and policies. Alternative approaches and action, ranging from weight-inclusive health paradigms to broader social change, are also considered when seeking to foster collective hope in crisis times. This is valuable reading for students and researchers in medical sociology, social and population health sciences, physical education, critical weight and fat studies, and the social dimensions of the body.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages285
ISBN (Electronic)9781317329992
ISBN (Print)9781138999718
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions(all)
  • Medicine(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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