A LEGITIMATE OR AN ILLEGITIMATE PROBLEM?

in Ethnologia Europaea
Author:
Gabriella Nilsson Lund University gabriella.nilsson@kultur.lu.se

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Overweight and obesity among children has gained increased attention as one of the most unequally distributed health problems. This article draws on interviews with school nurses, who in their daily work handle this problem. Their responses articulate a discrepancy between the general view on overweight and obesity as a “disaster” for the afflicted children and the practice of turning “a blind eye” to specific cases. The aim is to examine how the school nurses in their dealing with the problem handle this discrepancy and make it logical. It is argued that a distinction between “legitimate” and “illegitimate” is apparent in the school nurses’ understanding of overweight and obesity. This distinction depends on how they, in moral terms, categorize foods and habits, children and parents.

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