UNDERSTANDING OBESITY AND EATING DISORDERS THROUGH THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE HOME

A collaboration between the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford 

This project examines how the material culture of the home environment shapes the development and experience of eating disorders and obesity. While it is widely recognized that a person’s material home environment can increase or reduce the risk of disordered eating, public health campaigns for the prevention of obesity and eating disorders continue to focus on individual behaviour change. This approach risks dislocating lived experiences of obesity and eating disorders from environmental, relational, and structural dynamics - dynamics that anthropologists, psychologists, and other social scientists have shown play a central role in eating and feeding practices. Considering the widely-documented limited effect of public health campaigns focused on behaviour change, alongside the continuing increase in rates of obesity and disordered eating, urgent attention should be turned to contextualizing eating and feeding behaviours within home environments. The project responds to a policy-relevant need for understanding how everyday material culture can influence people’s eating and feeding practices.

Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund

Researchers


Stanley Ulijaszek (University of Oxford)

 

Caroline Potter (University of Oxford)

Karin Eli (Warwick University)

Anna Lavis (University of Birmingham)

Sabine Parrish (University of Oxford)

 

 

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