Obesity: locating social responsibility in the context of evolving norms
by L. Manning; J. Kelly
International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development (IJISD), Vol. 14, No. 1, 2020

Abstract: Most countries have experienced a significant increase in the incidence of obesity in their general population over the last 20 years. Indeed, the condition is now so common, commentators conclude that obesity has become normalised and no longer attracts social opprobrium. The prevalence of obesity and related morbidities when the condition is normalised places it beyond the scope of conventional government interventions. In this context, the UK government adopted a multisector approach in England by announcing in 2011 that its policy on obesity would be predicated on the importance of individuals' responsibility for their condition, while also facilitating food and drink industry responsibilities to its customers. This paper considers the social trend towards the normalisation of obesity as a lens to discuss government's role in supporting businesses to demonstrate and act upon their social responsibilities. Furthermore to question whether individual and social responsibility (SR) are theoretically robust terms for policy purposes, particularly in the case of obesity where the condition is now increasingly accepted as being the norm.

Online publication date: Sun, 15-Dec-2019

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