Discourses on Child Obesity and TV Advertising in the Context of the Norwegian Welfare State

Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)


Child obesity has become a hot topic in policy debates, media discourse and academic literature in recent years. Incessant media coverage reports that obesity is becoming an epidemic, with the phenomenon being spoken about as a global epidemic (Okie 2005), globesity (Dávidsdóttir 2005) and a pandemic, seen as by far the fastest growing public health crisis in the industrialised world (Shell 2003). In the European Union, 30% of the child population is estimated to have a serious problem with their weight and the health authorities’ concern is that Europe will go in the same direction as the United States, facing an obesity problem ‘out of control’ (WHO 2006). In this chapter, I explore the reasons that are currently being offered in the public sphere in Norway to explain the increasing levels of child obesity and, maybe as equally important, the reasons that are not mentioned. As I shall argue, the ways in which these issues are talked about reveal the discourses that frame, for instance, the explanations and solutions offered, the location of responsibility and also how children’s identities and childhood itself are understood in the Norwegian context (James 1993).


Child Obesity Unhealthy Food Moral Panic School Meal Prevent Child Obesity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Vebjørg Tingstad 2009

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