Obesity and Coercion

Authored by: Clement Loo , Robert A. Skipper

The Routledge Handbook of Food Ethics

Print publication date:  July  2016
Online publication date:  July  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138809130
eBook ISBN: 9781315745503
Adobe ISBN: 9781317595502


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This chapter explores the role of deliberate choice in consumer feeding behavior and its connection to obesity. In the West, especially in North America, many people, including health professionals, believe that obese people are stereotypically unhealthy eaters who lack self-control and are not motivated to be physically active (Salas et al. 2014). In general, medical treatment for the overweight or obese patient reflects the stereotype of the obese person: Eat healthy, control your portions through “will power,” cognitive behavioral therapy, or pharmacotherapy, and, lastly, exercise (Steelman and Westman 2010). 1 In other words, medical interventions send the message that the obese patient should learn to make better lifestyle choices.

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