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Deadly Sin: Gluttony, Obesity And Health Policy

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Chapter Summary

The purpose of this chapter is to argue that the linking of the language of Christian sin to obesity demonstrates that social understandings of fatness are far more complicated than the medical terms in which obesity usually finds expression. It explores how and why patristic theological ideas, intrinsic to the ascetic practice of ancient Christian monks, are being used in health rhetoric surrounding the twenty-first century obesity epidemic. The chapter focuses on how these terms (gluttony and sloth) are being used in health policy and medical research. It also explores the links between obesity and popular ideas of gluttony and sloth. The chapter explains the relationship between Protestant Christianity and popular perceptions of health. Finally, it discusses the implication of these the interaction of Christian ideas of sin with general understandings of health behaviors and policy.

Keywords: Christian sin; gluttony; health policy; obesity



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