Social Theory & Health

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 89–108 | Cite as

Dietary approaches to weight-loss, Health At Every Size® and beyond: rethinking the war on obesity

  • Andrea Bombak
  • Lee F. Monaghan
  • Emma RichEmail author
Original Article


Despite considerable contestation, ‘excess’ weight/fatness is commonly framed as fatal and in need of behavioural interventions. This article reviews literature which places a question mark over or challenges dietary approaches to weight-loss before critically discussing an alternative weight-inclusive intervention, Health At Every Size®, which is filtering into mainstream discourse while also becoming increasingly fractious. After discussing principles, tensions, resonance and controversies, we reflect on the politics of health and the need to reject the all-too-common definition of weight/fatness as a proxy for individuals’ unhealthy lifestyles and personal irresponsibility. In conclusion, we tease out some of the implications of our discussion for social theorizing of health and efforts to rethink the war on obesity.


Obesity Fatness Dieting Health At Every Size® Critique 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of LimerickLimerickIreland
  3. 3.Department for HealthUniversity of BathBathUK

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