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Is Breast Best?Taking on the Breastfeeding Experts and the New High Stakes of Motherhood$
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Joan B. Wolf

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814794814

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814794814.001.0001

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Whither Breastfeeding?

(p.139) 6 Conclusion
Is Breast Best?

Joan B. Wolf

NYU Press

This concluding chapter situates breastfeeding in the context of debates about other contemporary health risks, in particular exploring the ongoing campaign against America's “obesity epidemic” as another example of the limits of epidemiology, neoliberalism, and framing health behavior as risky. The admonition to be thin, like the injunction to breastfeed, has become a guiding principle for those who seek to be healthy, responsible citizens. The obsessions with thinness and breastfeeding both stem from a glut of health information that reflects a misunderstanding and misuse of the concept of statistical significance in both science and the popular media. As moral agendas, they reveal a certain blindness to how what is labeled “healthy” reflects social privilege, and they give rise to fearmongering and hyperbole.

Keywords:   obesity epidemic, contemporary health risks, epidemiology, neoliberalism, social privilege, breastfeeding, health risks

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