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What can Bunter teach us about obesity? 

From John Bull to Billy Bunter and beyond, a new book looking at the representation of obesity in our culture argues that present-day food, fashion, fads and fat cannot be dissociated from history and that lessons can be learnt from the mistakes of the past.

book cover Fat, Gluttony and Sloth: Representing Obesity in Art Literature and Medicine by David W. Haslam, the clinical director of the National Obesity Forum and Fiona Haslam sets out to put the current obesity crisis in historical perspective.

'The West is in the throes of an obesity epidemic,' said David Haslam. 'Life expectancy has been improving for centuries, while advances in hygiene, science, public health and medicine have enabled us to live longer and to lead more productive lives. But now obesity, on its own, is threatening to herald a reduction in life expectancy in coming generations. The number of overweight people in the world has overtaken the number of malnourished for the first time.'

David who is familiar from his many media appearances to discuss obesity issues  is also visiting lecturer at Chester University and visiting fellow at the Postgraduate Medical School of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. Fiona was a medical practitioner for many years and has a research doctorate from the University of St Andrews.

Much has been written about the medical and social causes of obesity, yet little work has been done on the cultural history of the subject. Through an innovative and enlightening exploration of obesity in art, literature and the history of medicine, the book examines the changing meaning of 'fat' in the public consciousness.




Page created on July 16th, 2009

Page updated on January 15th, 2010