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UL Academic Challenges the concept of the Obesity Epidemic


Dr Lee Monaghan

Pictured at the launch at the University of Limerick of Men and the War on Obesity, by UL Senior Lecturer Dr. Lee Monaghan (centre) where the book, which was officially launched by Dr Emma Rich (right), Loughborough University and Lucy Aphramor (left), Coventry University.

 

A new book on men and obesity, launched at the University of Limerick  argues that contrary to the widely held view that we are facing an obesity epidemic, the science behind this war on fat is highly uncertain and founded upon questionable assumptions about what actually determines health.  Men and the War on Obesity, by UL Senior Lecturer Dr. Lee Monaghan, has been described as an original, timely and controversial study. Using observations from a mixed-sex slimming club and interviews with men whom medicine might label overweight or obese, this study challenges conventional thinking about the fight against fat.

According to official statistics, the majority of men in nations such as the USA, England and Ireland are overweight or obese. Public health officials, researchers, governments and various agencies are alarmed and have issued dire warnings about an obesity epidemic. This perceived threat to public health seemingly legitimates declarations of war against what one US Surgeon General called ิthe terror within.

Speaking at the launch of his book, Dr Monaghan said that it has been argued that medical and popular solutions to excess weight are often ineffective and, rather ironically, the current moral panic around body fat may contribute towards body dissatisfaction, stigma, eating disorders and other health problems. 

Even so, the message is continually conveyed, with certainty, that most people are too heavy, that it is unhealthy and unacceptable to be fat and the so-called obesity epidemic should be tackled. 


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