Skip to main content

Neither good nor useful: Looking ad vivum in children's assessments of fat and healthy bodies

Journal Article


Download full-text (Open Access)

Abstract


  • Fat bodies are not, fait accompli, bad. Yet in our international research, we found

    overwhelmingly that fat functioned as a marker to indicate health or lack of

    health. A body with fat was simply and conclusively unhealthy. This article

    reports on how this unbalanced view of fat was tied to assessments of healthy

    bodies that were achieved by the act of looking. Despite the efforts of health

    education in each of the three countries in our study, children and young people

    cited the act of looking at bodies to assess health and when did they arrived at the

    conclusion that fat on bodies is unmistakably bad. The article uses a Foucauldian

    analysis of medical perception together with material from Conrad Gessner’s

    sixteenth century Historia Animalium to outline how the children in our study

    placed great reliance on information about fat to make almost exclusively visual

    assessments of health. The article makes the case that, despite a great deal of

    health education in schools, these judgments reveal a tendency for children to

    make incorrect assessments of health.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Harwood, V. (2012). Neither good nor useful: Looking ad vivum in children's assessments of fat and healthy bodies. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education, 33 (5), 693-711.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84869185915

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2526&context=edupapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/edupapers/1210

Number Of Pages


  • 18

Start Page


  • 693

End Page


  • 711

Volume


  • 33

Issue


  • 5

Abstract


  • Fat bodies are not, fait accompli, bad. Yet in our international research, we found

    overwhelmingly that fat functioned as a marker to indicate health or lack of

    health. A body with fat was simply and conclusively unhealthy. This article

    reports on how this unbalanced view of fat was tied to assessments of healthy

    bodies that were achieved by the act of looking. Despite the efforts of health

    education in each of the three countries in our study, children and young people

    cited the act of looking at bodies to assess health and when did they arrived at the

    conclusion that fat on bodies is unmistakably bad. The article uses a Foucauldian

    analysis of medical perception together with material from Conrad Gessner’s

    sixteenth century Historia Animalium to outline how the children in our study

    placed great reliance on information about fat to make almost exclusively visual

    assessments of health. The article makes the case that, despite a great deal of

    health education in schools, these judgments reveal a tendency for children to

    make incorrect assessments of health.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Harwood, V. (2012). Neither good nor useful: Looking ad vivum in children's assessments of fat and healthy bodies. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education, 33 (5), 693-711.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84869185915

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2526&context=edupapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/edupapers/1210

Number Of Pages


  • 18

Start Page


  • 693

End Page


  • 711

Volume


  • 33

Issue


  • 5