Temple University Professor Says ‘Weight Loss’ Is a ‘Western Value’

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A professor at Temple University argued in a recent book that “weight loss” and high “athletic performance” are “Western values.”

The book, by Temple University professor Allison Hayes-Conroy, was first reported on by Toni Airaksinen of Campus Reform. Titled Food & Place: A Critical Exploration, it argues that “weight loss” is a “Western value.” Allison and her sister Jessica, who teaches at Hobart &  William Smith College, penned a chapter of the book together. It is entitled “Critical Nutrition: Critical and Feminist Perspectives on Bodily Nutrition.” In June, Breitbart News reported that Hobart and William Smith College offered a course that argued that “objectivity” is a “white myth.”

In the book, which sells for almost $100 in hardback,  Conroy argues that America’s cultural emphasis on healthy eating is “embedded in contemporary culture and politics,” the book reads. “Countless recent studies offer insight into weight loss, longevity, or athletic performance — all predominant Western values.”

“As we write this, a strawberry boycott is ongoing, protesting the treatment of Driscoll farmworkers, the sisters argue in the book. “And yet it is rare, in the myriad calls for eating fresh fruits and vegetables, to see strikes and boycotts mentioned in the same breath as ‘healthy.’”

The sisters spent a significant portion of the chapter on the relationship between healthy eating and Western culture. It’s a strange argument, primarily because healthy eating is a staple of cultures throughout the world. A 2014 article from Health.com shines some light on dietary practices around the world. In India, Yoga devotees use the exercise to obtain mindfulness. Additionally, yoga helps them maintain a lower body mass index than individuals who engage in other forms of exercise. In Mexico, the biggest meal of the days is eaten between 2 and 4 p.m., which helps to avoid those late night meals that pack on extra weight.



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