Between Urgent and Lifelong Matters

Overweight Children’s Voices on Health Promotion Pedagogies

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Resumé

This article draws upon research exploring school-based community practices of health education for overweight children and their families. In accordance with the existing critique of the ‘obesity epidemic’ and medico-scientific discourses around food and exercise, this article challenges the prevailing binary risk-based pedagogies that inevitably lead to imperatives of right and wrong health behaviour. The analyses presented in this article draw on sociological and pedagogical perspectives, informed by obese children’s participation in lifestyle courses in Denmark. Observations and narratives of 39 children on these courses led to three main findings, pointing to overlooked pedagogical potentials in public health programmes. The first finding was how health education, relying on a fixed and absolute set of health categories, is a prompt execution of moral responsibility to reverse the risks of the ‘obesity epidemic’. This does, however, create ‘pedagogical urgency’ with little room for identifying existing health resources, in the endeavour to transfer health information. Secondly, as discourses of risks become the dominant point of departure, presumed lacks and deficits of the overweight child’s body become a pedagogical epicentre. This leaves a number of health competences pedagogically unexplored. Finally, the involvement of the children’s narratives leads to the conclusion of reversing, not the ‘obesity epidemic’, but the risk-based pedagogies, in order to base health education on lifelong learning. This, I argue, calls for a shift into a new paradigm of health education by regarding the promotion of health as a reflexive learning practice.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftDiscourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education
Sider (fra-til)1-16
Antal sider16
ISSN0159-6306
DOI
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2017

Bibliografisk note

Important note from the Publisher regarding the attached version of the article: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education on 29 Nov 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/01596306.2017.1408572.”

Emneord

  • health pedagogies
  • health education
  • paradigm of health
  • obesity epidemic
  • childhood
  • self-perceptions
  • reflexive learning

Citer dette

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abstract = "This article addresses the learner perspective on doing overweight by listening to 39 Danish overweight children aged 8 to 13 years old. In accordance with the existing critique of the ‘obesity epidemic’ and medico-scientific discourses around food and exercise, this article explores how new health imperatives shape overweight children’s self-narratives. Health pedagogical activities in Denmark are between urgent and lifelong approaches to achieving health, and the article presents overweight children’s voices on having to learn new health behaviour in between these two schisms. From a social constructionist and post-structuralist perspective, the analysis demonstrates how the children both subscribe to discourses of discipline and control over health actions, as well as legitimate narratives of having to adjust, accommodate and negotiate health challenges to everyday life practices. The article addresses what can be learnt from listening to overweight children’s voices in the context of performing meaningful health pedagogies.",
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