Food Choice, Nutrition And Body Weight
Editorial by Deborah Lupton
Sociologists of health and illness have researched topics to do with food choice, nutrition and body weight for some time. This editorial looks at articles published on these topics in the Sociology of Health & Illness over the past two decades. What is immediately apparent is the shift in focus from the early 1990s to the early 2010s, as well as a major growth in interest in food-related topics in the latter part of this period. Twenty years ago, the predominant interest in food, nutrition and body weight related to a more general concern with identifying lay concepts of general health and wellbeing, or ‘health beliefs’. In the 1990s, the diet-related concerns investigated by researchers related to such aspects as salt intake, cholesterol levels and heart disease. While there was some discussion of dietary fat and body weight, this was part of a broader spectrum of food-related risks receiving attention. By the mid years of the 2000s, however, the intense publicity given to the ‘obesity epidemic’ in the mass media and health and medical forums in western countries was making itself felt in an increasing number of articles dealing with overweight and obesity. The first article to use the term ‘obesity’ in its title was published in the journal in 2002, but it was not until 2007 that the momentum for research on excess body weight really began to build. This was accompanied by an apparent renewed interest on the part of contributors to the journal in the sociocultural dimensions of food choices and practices generally.
List of articles appearing in the Virtual Special Issue
Backett, K (1992) Taboos and excesses: lay health moralities in middle class families, Sociology of Health & Illness, 14, 2, 255-274.
Bahr, PR (2007) Race and nutrition: an investigation of Black-White differences in health-related nutritional behaviours, Sociology of Health & Illness, 29, 6, 831-856.
Balfe, M (2007) Diets and discipline: the narratives of practice of university students with type 1 diabetes, Sociology of Health & Illness, 29, 1, 136-153.
Batnitzky, A (2008) Obesity and household roles: gender and social class in Morocco, Sociology of Health & Illness, 30, 3, 445-462.
Calnan, M, and Williams, S (1991) Style of life and the salience of health: an exploratory study of health related practices in households from differing socio-economic circumstances, Sociology of Health & Illness, 13, 4, 506-529.
Chan, C, Deave, T, and Greenhalgh, T (2010) Childhood obesity in transition zones: an analysis using structuration theory, Sociology of Health & Illness, 32, 5, 711-729.
Chang, VW, and Christakis, NA (2002) Medical modelling of obesity: a transition from action to experience in a 20th century American medical textbook, Sociology of Health & Illness, 24, 2, 151-177.
Crawford, P, Brown, B, Nerlich, B, and Koteyko, N (2010) Nutritional altruism and functional food: lay discourses on probiotics, Sociology of Health & Illness, 32, 5, 745-760.
Daneski, K, Higgs, P, and Morgan, M (2010) From gluttony to obesity: moral discourses on apoplexy and stroke, Sociology of Health & Illness, 32, 5, 730-744.
Davison, C, Smith, GD, and Frankel, S (1991) Lay epidemiology and the prevention paradox: the implications of coronary candidacy for health education, Sociology of Health & Illness, 13, 1, 1-19.
Delormier, T, Frohlich, KL, and Potvin, L (2009) Food and eating as social practice – understanding eating patterns as social phenomena and implications for public health, Sociology of Health & Illness, 31, 2, 215-228.
Herrick, C (2009) Shifting blame/selling health: corporate social responsibility in the age of obesity, Sociology of Health & Illness, 31, 1, 51-65.
Lawton, J, Ahmad, N, Peel, E, and Hallowell, N (2007) Contextualising accounts of illness: notions of responsibility and blame in white and South Asian respondents’ accounts of diabetes causation, Sociology of Health & Illness, 29, 6, 891-906.
Leggatt-Cook, C, and Chamberlain, K (2011) Blogging for weight loss: personal accountability, writing selves, and the weight-loss blogosphere, Sociology of Health & Illness, Early View.
Lupton, D (2000) The heart of the meal: food preferences and habits among rural Australian couples, Sociology of Health & Illness, 22, 1, 94-109.
Lupton, D, and Chapman, S (1995) ‘A healthy lifestyle might be the death of you’: discourses on diet, cholesterol control and heart disease in the press and among the lay public, Sociology of Health & Illness, 17, 4, 477-494.
Lupton, DA (2005) Lay discourses and beliefs related to food risks: an Australian perspective, Sociology of Health & Illness, 27, 4, 448-467.
Monaghan, LF (2007) Body Mass Index, masculinities and moral worth: men's critical understandings of 'appropriate' weight-for-height, Sociology of Health and Illness, 29, 4, 584-609.
Oliffe, JL, Grewal, S, Bottorff, JL, Dhesi, J, Bindy, H, Kang, K, Ward, A, and Hislop, TG (2010) Masculinities, diet and senior Punjabi Sikh immigrant men: food for Western thought?, Sociology of Health & Illness, 32, 5, 761-776.
Pampel, FC (2012) Does reading keep you thin? Leisure activities, cultural tastes, and body weight in comparative perspective, Sociology of Health & Illness, 34, 3, 396-411.
Rasmussen, N (2012) Weight stigma, addiction, science, and the medication of fatness in mid-twentieth century America, Sociology of Health & Illness, Early View.
Throsby, K (2012) Obesity surgery and the management of excess: exploring the body multiple, Sociology of Health & Illness, 34, 1, 1-15.
Warin, M, Turner, K, Moore, V, and Davies, M (2008) Bodies, mothers and identities: rethinking obesity and the BMI, Sociology of Health & Illness, 30, 1, 97-111.
Webb, H (2009) ‘I’ve put weight on cos I’ve bin inactive, cos I’ve ’ad me knee done’: moral work in the obesity clinic, Sociology of Health & Illness, 31, 6, 854-871.