32 and 37 inches – the healthy body and the politics of waist circumference
A governmental analysis of the Stop the Spread campaign
in Reframing health and health policy in Ireland
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In a novel departure in Irish public health promotion, 250,000 free measuring tapes were distributed via pharmacies throughout Ireland to encourage people to measure their waists in 2011. This was part of the Stop the Spread (STS) campaign which sought to change people's perception of a healthy and normal waist size. Its central message was that a waist circumference above 32 and 37 inches for women and men, respectively is overweight and an indicator of particular health risks. This chapter suggests that STS campaign illustrates a change in biopedagogical instructions and techniques in health promotion. It focuses on some recent Foucauldian scholarship in order to extend the relevance of such concepts to twenty-first-century movements in biopolitics and neoliberalism, and in order to set out an analytical framework by which STS can be analysed.


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