Obesity in Canada: Critical Perspectives

Edited by Jenny Ellison, Deborah McPhail, and Wendy Mitchinson

© 2016

Medical professionals, social policy makers, and the media have all declared that Canada is in the grip of an obesity epidemic. Conceptualizing obesity as a biological condition, these experts insist that it needs to be “prevented” and “managed.”

Obesity in Canada takes a broader, critical perspective of our supposed epidemic. Examining obesity in its cultural and historical context, the book’s contributors ask how we measure health and wellness, where our attitudes to obesity develop from, and what the consequences are of naming and targeting as “obese” those whose body weights do not match our expectations. A broad survey of the issues surrounding the obesity panic in Canada, it is the first collection of fat studies and critical obesity studies from a distinctly Canadian perspective.

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Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 496 pages
  • Illustrations: 6
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.2in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED APR 2016

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    Regular Price: $42.95

    ISBN 9781442628540
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    ISBN 9781442650633
  • PUBLISHED MAY 2016

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Quick Overview

Obesity in Canada takes a broader, critical perspective of our supposed obesity epidemic

Obesity in Canada: Critical Perspectives

Edited by Jenny Ellison, Deborah McPhail, and Wendy Mitchinson

© 2016

Medical professionals, social policy makers, and the media have all declared that Canada is in the grip of an obesity epidemic. Conceptualizing obesity as a biological condition, these experts insist that it needs to be “prevented” and “managed.”

Obesity in Canada takes a broader, critical perspective of our supposed epidemic. Examining obesity in its cultural and historical context, the book’s contributors ask how we measure health and wellness, where our attitudes to obesity develop from, and what the consequences are of naming and targeting as “obese” those whose body weights do not match our expectations. A broad survey of the issues surrounding the obesity panic in Canada, it is the first collection of fat studies and critical obesity studies from a distinctly Canadian perspective.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 496 pages
  • Illustrations: 6
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.2in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "Obesity in Canada is a welcome, and much needed, addition to the study of the fat body as a cultural, social, political, historical, and representational artefact…[The editors] offer, as a whole, a powerful "interruption" into more usual ways of thinking about fat and obesity in Canada and elsewhere."


    Ann Braithwaite
    CBMH Vol 34:2: 2016

    "This book is excellent! The text combines an impressive collection of work that highlights the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality and socio-economic perspectives in our discussion about obesity. The scholarship is current and makes unique contributions to the field of fat studies."


    Esther D. Rothblum, Professor of Women’s Studies, San Diego State University

    "This is an interesting and often provocative collection that remedies large gaps in the scholarly literature. I know of no other book that focuses on obesity in the Canadian context in a critical fashion."


    Katie LeBesco, Associate Dean, Marymount Manhattan College
  • Author Information

    Jenny Ellison is the Curator of Sport and Leisure at the Canadian Museum of History, and co-editor of Obesity in Canada: Critical Perspectives, also published by University of Toronto Press.


    Deborah McPhail is an assistant professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences in the Max Rady College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba



    Wendy Mitchinson is a Canadian historian and a Distinguished Professor Emerita in University of Waterloo.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction: Obesity in Canada by Jenny Ellison, Deborah McPhail and Wendy Mitchinson

    Part One: Critical Perspectives on Obesity Science

    1. Hearing Noises and Noticing Silence: Towards a Critical Engagement with Canadian Body Weight Statistics by Michael Gard

    2. “Obesity” as Process: The Medicalization of Fatness by Canadian Researchers, 1971-2010 by Elise Paradis

    3. The Geneticization of Aboriginal Diabetes and Obesity: Adding Another Scene to the Story of the Thrifty Gene by Jennifer Poudrier

    4. Diabesity or the “Twin Epidemics”: Reflections on the Iatrogenic Consequences of Stigmatizing Lifestyle to Reduce the Incidence of Diabetes Mellitus in Canada by Darlene McNaughton and Cynthia Smith 

    5. Spoon Fed: Learning about “Obesity” in Dietetics by Julie E. Rochefort, Andrea Senchuk, Jennifer Brady and Jacqui Gingras

    6. Aboriginal People’s Clinical Encounters with Obesity: A Conversation with Barry Interview by Deborah McPhail

    Part Two: Who is Responsible for Obesity?

    7. Mother Blaming and Obesity: An Alternative Perspective by Wendy Mitchinson

    8. Obesity, Risk, and Responsibility: The Discursive Production of the “Ultimate At-Risk Child” by Pamela Ward

    9. Obesity Panic, Body Surveillance, and Pedagogy: Elementary Teachers’ Response to “Obesity Messaging” by LeAnne Petherick and Natalie Beausoleil

    10. Find Your Greatness: Responsibility, Policy and the Problem of Childhood Obesity by Charlene Elliott

    Part Three: Representations Of, and Responses To, Obesity

    11. From “FU” to “Be Yourself”: Fat Activisms in Canada by Jenny Ellison

    12. Having Your Jiggs Dinner and Eating It, Too: Newfoundland Obesity and the Affects of Tradition by Deborah McPhail

    13. Screening the Un-Scene: Deconstructing the (Bio)politics of Story Telling in a Canadian Reality Makeover Weight Loss Series by Moss E. Norman, Geneviève Rail and Shannon Jette

    14. Fat Authenticity and the Pursuit of Hetero-Romantic Love in Vancouver: The Case of Online Dating by Jacqueline Schoemaker Holmes

    Part Four: Inconclusions

    15. “Celebrating Unruly Experiences”: Queering Health at Every Size as a Response to the Politics of Postponement by Jennifer Brady and Jacqui Gingras

    16. Re-Visioning Fat: From Enforcing Norms to Exploring Possibilities Unique to Different Bodies by Carla Rice

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