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Health in Crisis Class 17.docx

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York University
Social Science
SOSC 2150

Christy Leung Health in Crisis Class 17 Feb. 14/11 Unbearable Weight Obesity, Eating Disorders, Dieting and Health The social construction of disease - Diseases are time and place specific - Grounded in social relations of power - Ex. Drapetomania – slaves who ran away from their masters and homosexuality once considered diseases - The labelling as disease sets parameters of normalcy and deviance - Power is the construction of knowledge (Foucault) - Disease were used to maintain a status quo “Overweight” as disease - Overweight used to be just a description and symptom - Now seen as a disease in itself - Overweight was not “discovered” to be a disease - Overweight became constructed ... How did Overweight become disease? - 1) Importance of measurability within medicine and other science - Discover the “nature of humanity” - Not really a discovery but a new construct - Need for a quantifiable standard to ensure objectivity and rationality - Sets the spectrum of normal based on bodyweight instead of health - Looks to treat only those who fall outside of the “normal”, regardless of health - 2) Preoccupation with Appearance and Beauty - While the focus on beauty is not new, a measurable beauty is - Beauty, like disease, is time and space specific - Beauty has always been associated with class, morality, rationality and virtue but what is beautiful has changed - Ex. Corpulence once seen as ideal because it was a show of wealth now seen as a sign of weakness The Construct of Overweight and Obese and Unhealthy - The focus is on the large body as unhealthy - The slender body is seen as the healthy body - Minimal discuss of the unhealthy slender body - Large body seen as unsightly, uncontrolled, weak, inefficient and wasteful - Today, the large body is associated with poverty - The thin body is associated with wealth - We have seen a complete change of the myth Seeking Beauty: Starving and Carving Yourself while Feeding Corporations Drugs - Side effects: Primary pulmonary hypertension, leaky heart valves, cardiac arrest, increased death rates from lung cancer Very Low Calorie Diet - Side effects: rapid weight loss but raped weight gain when stopping, highest risk for sudden death syndrome of any weight loss program Weight Reduction Surgery - Side effects: vertical gastro-banding and gastric bypass; high suicide rate associated with gastric surgery not explained Anorexia, Bulimia, Over Exercising - Some people take what is stated to be extreme measures to lose weight that do not involve drugs or surgery. These are considered eating disorders - Purging in the forms of vomiting, laxative use, diuretics, ipecac, excessive exercising (bulimia nervosa) - Restricting in the form of withholding medication (insulin), not eating and intense exercise (anorexia nervos
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