Towards the end of the twentieth century the World Health Organization declared “obesity” a global epidemic. From 2001 onwards the term “globesity” came into use. “Globesity” is understood as a globally observable consequence of the spread of new “lifestyles” common in industrialized countries characterized by increased consumption of high-energy, industrially processed foodstuffs and low physical activity. According to this thesis, more and more people in the global North and increasingly also in the global South are “overweight” and suffer from “obesity,” measured by using the BMI. As “obesity” is classified as a risk factor for chronic, non-communicable diseases, “globesity” has been declared a public health crisis that threatens global society due to high healthcare costs and decreasing productivity. More recently,…

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The definition of Health at Every Size (HAES) may initially appear to be easy to understand. Many HAES advocates argue that all bodies, regardless of size, can achieve and maintain ‘good’ health. Yet, meanings and understandings of HAES have a complex and contentious history. HAES can loosely be separated into two branches. The most popularised branch has now been trademarked and was adapted and popularised by healthcare professionals such as Lindo Bacon, Deb Burgard and Lucy Aphramor. The other is perhaps lesser known to people outside of the fat activist movement but has its roots in early fat liberation where fat people were first able to discuss their dismal experiences of healthcare as part of community organisation.  Both branches argue…

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The obesogenic environment refers to “the sum of influences that the surroundings, opportunities or conditions of life have on promoting obesity in individuals and populations.” The obesogenic environment encompasses the infrastructural, social, and culture conditions that influence people’s ability and willingness to engage in health seeking behaviours. These include the advertising and availability of high calorie food, the lack of safe green spaces for activity and play, and the motorisation of daily life.  It represents an ecological lens for understanding and solving the ‘problem of obesity,’ shifting the responsibility for fatness from individuals to environmental factors, and highlights that certain populations (poor people; usually people of color) live in environments that put them at greater risk for fatness. Concerns over…

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Three years ago, in August 2018, Greta Thunberg and other young climate activists gained international recognition when they missed school for three weeks to protest in front of the Swedish parliament, demanding a noticeable increase in political action to prevent climate change. While U.S. climate activism and its countermovement started to gain traction in the 1990s, the more recent protests in Sweden have inspired many people across the globe to follow suit, forming the Fridays for Future (FFF) movement. However, a rhetoric of anti-fatness and ableism threatens to undermine the movement’s attempt to engage a diverse group of people in its cause. With this blog post, I want to challenge the use of popular slogans like “BURN FAT, NOT OIL,”…

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In the October 2018 issue of UK’s Cosmopolitan, “one of the busiest working models today,” Tess Holliday, was featured on the cover (Farrah Storr). The image of Holliday caused quite a stir, because this “Cosmo girl,” an iconic figure who has since the 1960s defined ideals of female beauty and attractiveness, is a white, fat woman who is shown blowing a kiss at her readers while wearing a green bathing suit. The image displays her full body, accompanied by the headline: “A Supermodel Roars: Tess Holliday Wants Her Haters to Kiss Her Ass.” Inside the magazine, writer Farrah Storr teases the article by listing that Holliday “weighs 300lbs.,” “grew up in a trailer in Mississippi,” has “suffered abuse,” and “cried just minutes” before the…

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