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Type: Journal article
Title: Telescoping the origins of obesity to women's bodies: How gender inequalities are being squeezed out of Barker's hypothesis
Author: Warin, M.
Moore, V.
Zivkovic, T.
Davies, M.
Citation: Annals of Human Biology, 2011; 38(4):453-460
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 0301-4460
Statement of
Megan Warin, Vivienne Moore, Tanya Zivkovic & Michael Davies
Abstract: Aim: This paper traces the genealogy of the Barker hypothesis and its intersections with popular representations of scientific discourses about pregnancy and maternal obesity. Method: Drawing on Foucault's genealogical method, this study examines the historical ‘descent’ of the developmental origins of adult disease and its initial grounding in structural factors of gender inequality and low socioeconomic status. Results: In the more recent reproductive medicine literature, Barker's hypothesis has been used to understand the causes and consequences of foetal over-nutrition and has shifted its focus from social determinants to individual, gendered bodies. The print media has gainfully employed this conceptualization of obesity and, in doing so, placed women, and mothers in particular, as causal agents in the reproduction of obesity across generations. Such a ‘common sense’ understanding of obesity production and reproduction means that both the scientific literature and the public understanding of science has inadvertently assisted in putting women forward as the transmitters of obesity across generations. Conclusions: This powerful telescoping of the origins of obesity to women's bodies and their appetites is in stark contrast to earlier foci on gender inequalities and changing women's circumstances.
Keywords: Maternal obesity; the Barker hypothesis; foetal origins of adult chronic disease; Foucault’s genealogy; gender inequality
Rights: Copyright © Informa UK, Ltd.
RMID: 0020110505
DOI: 10.3109/03014460.2011.591829
Appears in Collections:Obstetrics and Gynaecology publications

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