The obesity epidemic: science, morality and ideology

Document Type


Publication details

Gard, M & Wright, J 2005, The obesity epidemic: science, morality and ideology, Routledge, London. ISBN: 9780415318969.

Peer Reviewed



Increasing obesity levels are currently big news but do we think carefully enough about what this trend actually means? Everybody – including doctors, parents, teachers, sports clubs, businesses and governments – has a role to play in the ‘war on obesity’. But is talk of an obesity ‘crisis’ justified? Is it the product of measured scientific reasoning or age-old ‘habits of mind’? Why is it happening now? And are there potential risks associated with talking about obesity as an ‘epidemic’?

The Obesity Epidemic proposes that obesity science and the popular media present a complex mix of ambiguous knowledge, familiar (yet unstated) moral agendas and ideological assumptions.