S1E5: Healthism

SHOW NOTES E005: Healthism


Healthism is prioritizing individual health above other things. It is also the idea that individuals have significant control over their health. It does not acknowledge that a great many things outside of an individual’s affect their health, such as oppression, war, hatred, environmental factors, and access to medical care. Ultimately, it is important to address societal inequities that affect individual health. The expectation of maintaining a certain level of health can lead to stress and unhealthy coping mechanisms. It is important to look beyond looks and support individual health as much as possible as we dismantle oppression.


In this episode, I will address:

  • What is healthiest?

  • How doctors can address healthism

  • Nutritionism

  • The “good fatty/bad fatty” dichotomy

  • Patient Autonomy and “non-compliance”

  • How doctors can support patients while we change society


“Food should be our pleasurable fuel, not our quest or destination. We’re all going to die regardless of how much quinoa we eat.
— Margaret McCartney, GP



1. Greenhalgh, T. and Wessely, S. ‘Health for me’: a sociocultural analysis of healthism in the middle class. British Medical Bulletin. 2004:69.                       


2. Crawford, R. Healthism and the Medicalization of Everyday Life. International Journal of Health Services. Pub 1980.

3. Well Now information: http://lucyaphramor.com/dietitian/about/

4. McCartney, M. Margaret McCartney: Clean eating and the cult of healthism

BMJ 2016;354:i4095. http://www.bmj.com/content/354/bmj.i4095

5. https://www.kateharding.info