Contesting the Obesity ‘Epidemic’: Elements of a Counter Discourse

  • Henk van den BeltEmail author
Part of the The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics book series (LEAF, volume 18)


In Chapter 3 of this volume, Tsjalling Swierstra distinguishes three discourses, all agreeing that obesity constitutes a pressing problem but each focusing on different causes of and solutions to this problem. Discourse I emphasizes the significance of personal behaviour, which is seen as under the individual’s control; discourse II highlights the causal role of the environment, while discourse III puts the burden on the biological peculiarities of the human body. In this chapter I will discuss yet another discourse that stands orthogonal to the three discourses distinguished by Swierstra. As it challenges the dominant belief, shared by these three discourses, that the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity constitutes a serious public health problem, it can appropriately be called a ‘counter discourse’.


Primary Pulmonary Hypertension Obese Person Obesity Research Internal Revenue Service Diet Pill 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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