Publication Details

This article was originally published as Wright, J and Dean, R, A balancing act: problematising prescriptions about food and weight in school health texts, Journal of Didactics and Educational Policy, 16(2), 2007, 75-94.


School health syllabuses, health and physical education textbooks and most recently website resources targeting young people’s health are one of the main sources of knowledge in schools about how individuals should live their lives and come to know themselves and others, particularly as these relate to their bodies, their relationships and their daily practices of eating, drinking and engaging in physical activity. One of the most powerful and pervasive discourses currently influencing ways of thinking about health and about bodies is that associated with the notion of an ‘obesity epidemic’. In this paper, we use the notion of biopower as it draws on the ‘truths’ and imperatives of the ‘obesity epidemic’ to examine how the practices associated with health education via texts books and web-based resources contribute to the regulation of bodies and the constitution of particular desires around health.

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