Social Theory & Health

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 315–340 | Cite as

Is A Weight-Centred Health Framework Salutogenic? Some Thoughts on Unhinging Certain Dietary Ideologies

  • Lucy Aphramor
The Obesity Debate


Does promoting weight loss improve health? This paper draws on diverse writings in empowerment, social justice, critical obesity literature, feminism and stress biology to challenge the appropriateness of the continued reliance on a reductionist metaphor of ‘energy balance’ in understanding fatness. It examines some of the scientific and philosophical premises underlying mainstream UK dietary anti-obesity guidelines and argues that the evidence supporting a link between promoting weight-loss and improving health is, at best, contentious. A central theme is that the current weight-loss schema helps to naturalise a fatness discourse that not only represents large people in offensively stereotyped ways but also fails to integrate people's lived experience as gendered, situated bodies in an inequitable world.


obesity fatness stigma dietetics oppression shame social justice health promotion ethics 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucy Aphramor
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Social Justice, Coventry UniversityCoventryUK

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