Doing the ‘right thing’?
Children, families and fatness in Ireland
in Reframing health and health policy in Ireland
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This chapter analyses recent Irish interventions into the 'obesity' discourse from the critical stance. It focuses on evidence from the first longitudinal study of children in Ireland, Growing Up in Ireland (GUI), and how its findings have entered the media and policy arenas. The analysis is based on secondary documentation, including published reviews of childhood obesity prevalence and GUI reports. Families and children were to be responsibilised to protect against the risks of overweight and obesity through educational and lifestyle interventions. The chapter considers some examples of how child fatness nevertheless continues to be framed as a pervasive and urgent issue in Irish society. The framing of childhood obesity illustrates how 'governmentality works by positioning or representing a problem in particular ways'. Body Mass Index (BMI) is even less satisfactory as a measure of childhood 'obesity'.


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