'Health is the number one thing we go for': healthism, citizenship and food choice
Ward, Paul Russell
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This paper explores the centrality of pursuit of health to discourse around food purchasing and eating behaviours. Forty-seven participants from metropolitan and rural South Australia were interviewed about how they decided what to purchase and to eat. The majority (n=39) cite the desire to eat healthily as a consideration in food purchasing. Participants reflect upon a personal and moral responsibility to eat well and to feed their family healthily, a duty that is supported by models of governance which favour personal responsibility for health. While all participants reflect upon this responsibility, it is rejected by a group of males on limited incomes who choose food on the basis of cost, taste, convenience and lack of trust in the health care system. The existence of a moral discourse around food is viewed as an example of healthism in which health is central to all aspects of life and self discipline a means to achieving health.