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© The British Academy 2012. All rights reserved. The problem of obesity is of increasing national and international importance. This book, which provides a solid foundation for the social interpretation of obesity, assessing the role of institutions rather than the individual, argues that obesity is a response to stress and that some types of welfare regimes are more stressful than others. International comparisons show that English-speaking market-liberal societies have higher levels of obesity as well as higher levels of labour and product market competition, leading to inequalities that induce uncertainty and anxiety.

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