Food and Gender: Identity and Power (Food and Nutrition in History and Culture)

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This report, released in July as contrasted with its usual October, World Food Day release date gives governments and everyone much to ponder. Key findings indicate hunger numbers are increasing, not declining. Prevalence of undernourishment, the least exacting measure, affects close to one billion people; experience of food insecurity not sure where your next meal is coming from affects more than a billion more, including those suffering hunger in industrialized countries.

You can download the report, its executive summary, or in its entirety, here.

Food in Globalising Vietnam

It has also disallowed reference to any research studies published before , and reference to any non-USDA scientific studies! You can read the Washington Post summary here. Synthesizing discussion of all three above themes, Frank B. An easily accessible interview on the major takeaways is here. Reminder: SAFN members recently received an announcement from David Beriss regarding a new on-line journal, Nature Food , which is actively soliciting brief commentaries, opinion pieces, literature reviews, and original research articles from food professionals across many disciplines, including anthropology.

The editor-in-chief, Anne Mullen, intends to include anthropological materials of interest to a wider range of scientists in every issue. You can find at more on the website. Once you are a member, you can receive communications via the new American Anthropological Association Communities communications system, here. Leave a comment. Filed under anthropology , Dietary guidelines , food security , nutrition , sustainability. Megan B. McCullough and Jessica A.

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Hardin, eds. Reconstructing obesity: the meaning of Measures and the Measure of Meanings. New York, ISBN: Megan McCullough and Jessica Hardin have compiled an excellent series of essays as to how different societies and professional groups define and evaluate obesity. Briefly, the writers of these essays, including the two editors themselves, make several points.

First, measures of obesity are not standardized, nor are they reliably accurate. Second, people from different societies, for historical and contemporary reasons, do not define obesity as do many Western health professionals. Third, the implications of the aforementioned mis-measurement and varying definitions of obesity affect how people do or do not receive services and how they may come to think and feel about themselves regarding weight. Lastly, an important strength of the book is that the literature on this subject is well-reviewed and ample.

McCullough and Hardin set the stage in their introduction, showing how cultural assumptions about health and obesity distort weight understanding and services provided. Anne E. These measures, she contends, are culture-bound to Western ideas of agency.. As Becker and the other authors suggest, this way of proceeding generally causes failure to lose weight, with serious other consequences, both medical and psychological.

Emily Yates-Doerr reviews and critiques in detail the measures used by health professionals to characterize obesity. One example she offers is the use of the BMI.

#121: The Truth About Diet Culture with Emily Contois

Yates-Doerr relates how public health professionals in Guatemala would subtract the weight of the outer garments the women wore from their measured weight. But they would vary in terms of how much they estimated those garments weighed p. Consequently, the BMI measures can be seriously misleading.

Darlene McNaughton focuses on the relationship in terms of health programs between diabetes and obesity. Hannah Garth looks at the history of food scarcity in Cuba after the Revolution. She cites a previous study by J. Many people remember when there was very little or no food.

In the present, they feel insecure about the availability of food. Thus, any program that addresses dieting and obesity runs into difficulties because people resist changes to their food consumption and eating habits. As Garth notes about several of her informants, people eat when they find food available p. Western Samoa is often thought of as one of the most obese areas in the world.

In the past and in the present, many Samoans feasted at important family occasions, consuming large amounts of food. Moreover, higher status Samoans tended to eat more, and their size was a measure of their importance p.

In addition, they tend to eat processed and fast food and other nutritionally deficient food. Trying to introduce dieting runs counter to this value and practice. Since many Samoans are Christians, many fast as part of their religious practice. They do so, however, in church, which contradicts family social practices and weakens family ties. Furthermore, fasting by itself is not necessarily healthy. Rochelle Rosen draws important lessons about caring for diabetes and obesity in American Samoa.

But the focus is not always maintained and consistent. Tracey Galloway and Tina Moffat explore the efficacy of school-based childhood obesity preventions in Canada. Many of these programs originated in the United States. They are largely behaviorist based, and often very strict.


Furthermore, girls and boys differed both in their perceptions of foods and the restrictions placed upon themselves. Girls saw more restrictions on what they should and should not eat, while boys saw more restrictions on where they could move within the classroom pp. Rather than one imposed by a dominant medical, or eating disorder establishment P.

She felt stigmatized, judged, misjudged, and shamed by medical personnel throughout. What about obese lesbian mothers? Stephen McGarvey, in his Afterword, restates the central concern of these essays—mismeasurement, stigmatization, medicalization, focus on individual agency, and a failure to address historical and cultural circumstances. What he proposes is that attention must be paid to the effects all of these have on research, program, and treatment pp. Wilson As I have noted, the book is an important contribution to addressing what is a significant concern in the understanding of weight issues.

I would like to address the issues raised from a somewhat different angle, hoping to add to future research, program, and treatment.

In terms of my background, I am an anthropologist. I am also a psychologist. One of my specialties is that I assess clients who are going to get gastric bypass, laparoscopy, gastric band and gastric sleeve surgeries. The stated purpose of these surgeries is to enable a person who has had significant difficulties in losing weight to lose weight. These clients have tried diets, often to no avail.

FoodAnthropology | Wisdom from the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition

They are at risk for Type II diabetes and other medical problems, including heart conditions, etc. My role is to assess, not say whether the surgery itself is indicated. Generally, the population I see for gastric bypass surgery is severely [ the preferred term] obese, even considering the issues of mismeasurement raised by many of the essay writers. The laparoscopy and other surgeries population is severely overweight, but not necessarily severely obese. Laparoscopy and the other mentioned surgeries is a less invasive surgical procedure, which is why it is used for this condition. All the patients I have seen have had difficulties with different diets.

The site offers a useful description of the measures used to determine severe obesity and the different types of surgeries considered.

The surgeries do entail risks, including rupture of the surgery area. The person must be careful in following all the post-operative instructions, including changing long-term eating patterns. Those receiving gastric bypass surgery can no longer drink carbonated beverages and must eat very small portions of food. The physicians for whom I do the surgery assessments run support groups for their patients.

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Many of their patients have talked to family and friends who have had the surgery and they get ample visual and written material as well. Rarely have they gotten therapy for that abuse. I do recommend that they see a therapist.

Gender and Food

Depending on the circumstances, I may set this as a precondition of the surgery. By young adulthood ages 20—27 , abused female subjects were significantly more likely to be obese Hierarchical linear modeling growth-trajectory analyses indicated that abused female subjects, on average, acquired body mass at a significantly steeper rate from childhood through young adulthood than did comparison female subjects after controlling for minority status and parity.

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I also treat clients from Workers Compensation or with disabilities from non-work-related accidents.