Medicine, morality and mothering: public health discourses on foetal alcohol exposure, smoking around children and childhood overnutrition

Bell, Kirsten, McNaughton, Darlene, and Salmon, Amy (2009) Medicine, morality and mothering: public health discourses on foetal alcohol exposure, smoking around children and childhood overnutrition. Critical Public Health, 19 (2). pp. 155-170.

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Abstract

Over the past few decades, three issues have emerged as threats to the health of infants and children in western, industrialised countries: the developmental impact of alcohol use in pregnancy (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or FASD), children's exposure to second-hand smoke in the home, and childhood overnutrition and obesity. The definitive role of drinking during pregnancy, exposure to second-hand smoke and overnutrition on negative health outcomes in infants and children remains the subject of considerable debate. Nevertheless, all three issues have been medicalised and criminalised: framed as looming health emergencies that require immediate intervention and, increasingly, legislation. However, it is our contention that the alarm these health 'threats' currently generate has many of the characteristics of a moral panic. In this paper we unpack the discourses surrounding these three issues, and explore the common focus on maternal responsibility and the ways in which these movements serve to covertly marginalise and stigmatise particular groups of women.

Item ID: 8282
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: moral panic; FAS; FASD; tobacco; second-hand smoke; children; overnutrition; obesity epidemic; political economy; mothers
ISSN: 1469-3682
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2010 03:58
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences > 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
Citation Count from Scopus Scopus 24
Downloads: Total: 5
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