The Real War on Obesity

Contesting Knowledge and Meaning in a Public Health Crisis

  • John Boswell

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Problem Definition

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 33-33
    2. John Boswell
      Pages 35-61
    3. John Boswell
      Pages 63-82
    4. John Boswell
      Pages 83-104
  3. Policy Engagement

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 105-105
    2. John Boswell
      Pages 107-127
    3. John Boswell
      Pages 129-149
    4. John Boswell
      Pages 151-177
    5. John Boswell
      Pages 179-200
    6. John Boswell
      Pages 201-220
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 221-224

About this book


This book sheds new light on the political battle to define and construct obesity as a policy issue. Through a rich analysis of the debates in Australia and the UK, it develops a nuanced analysis of the competing narratives that actors rely on to make sense of and argue about this issue, and documents how and to what effect they draw on scientific evidence to support their accounts. The real 'war on obesity', it demonstrates, has always been over the meaning and nature of this public health crisis. This insightful work will interest scholars of interpretive policy studies, critical public health and science and technology studies.


Fatness Overweight Well-being Public policy Interpretive policy analysis Narrative Performance Democratic governance health medicine obesity Public Health

Authors and affiliations

  • John Boswell
    • 1
  1. 1.Politics and International RelationsUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Medicine Medicine (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-1-137-58251-5
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-58252-2
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Health & Hospitals
Public Health