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Insecurity, Inequality, and Obesity in Affluent Societies$
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Avner Offer, Rachel Pechey, and Stanley Ulijaszek

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264980

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264980.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Creative Destruction, Economic Insecurity, Stress, and Epidemic Obesity

Creative Destruction, Economic Insecurity, Stress, and Epidemic Obesity

(p.15) Chapter 2 Creative Destruction, Economic Insecurity, Stress, and Epidemic Obesity
Insecurity, Inequality, and Obesity in Affluent Societies

Kevin W. Capehart

Jon D. Wisman

British Academy

The past three decades have witnessed a substantial increase in insecurity and stress as capitalism's creative destruction has become ever-more pervasive. A link between insecurity, stress and obesity is strongly suggested by the negative social gradient of obesity. This chapter begins with a survey of the dominant explanations of the obesity epidemic and their limitations. The second section surveys research that is supportive of a relationship between insecurity, stress and obesity. The third section provides evidence of the rise of insecurity and stress as creative destruction has gathered momentum over the past three decades. The fourth section examines the anomalously stable obesity rates between 1960 and 1980. The fifth section notes evidence of the worldwide relationship between rising insecurity and obesity. The chapter concludes with a reflection that, should the argument be correct, the obesity epidemic may be symptomatic of a social disorder in modern capitalist society.

Keywords:   insecurity, stress, capitalism, capitalist society, obesity, epidemic, social disorder

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