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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


CARVALHO, Maria Cláudia  and  MARTINS, André. Obesity as a complex object: a philosophical and conceptual approach. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2004, vol.9, n.4, pp.1003-1012. ISSN 1678-4561.

This article looks into the construction of concepts in the health area and their use as a methodological instrument in the dissolution of limiting dichotomies such as the one between body and mind. This work starts from a philosophical perspective, in the attempt to look closer into the complex reality of collective health, applied to the problems related to obesity. We discuss how to overcome opposing issues such as "to eat because I want and not to eat because it makes me fat", understanding the eating conflicts and the nutritional aggravations from an ethical point-of-view, so as to bring together theory and practice within contemporaneity. To exercise this conceptualization, we have formulated two definitions of obesity: first, taking into account the singular capacity of each individual to be active and powerful in life; second, considering the current standards of normality for the human bodies. To sum up, we describe some possible uses of this instrument in the areas of nutrition and health, so as to prevent the reduction of human beings to halves, body or soul, and to understand them in their integrality.

Keywords : Obesity; Conceptualization in health; Philosophy; Complexity.

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