Here’s an alarming caution from Prof John Blundell on the BBC Health website:
The use of the term food addiction is a step towards medicalisation and implies that normal human social behaviour is pathological.
I am concerned that many people may potentially latch on to the concept of food addiction as an excuse to explain their overeating – the premise that it’s “not my fault” and therefore, “I can’t help it”.
This removes the personal responsibility they should feel and could act on – and they infer that their eating is a form of disease.
So two angles here:
- that normal behaviour is medicalised, we’ve seen that before and this is a new front in that war.
- that the process of medicalising this is further undermining the concept of personal responsibility, something central to the kind of world libertarians propose.
You might also suggest that the use of the word “addiction” to describe a reliance on food, in particular, is stretching the word “addiction” beyond it’s usual meaning. Afterall all, we are all dependent on food in a very obvious way – without it, we die. I am however, growing increasingly tolerant of such word games.
Overall, I think this is a debate we need to keep an eye on. Too much of this and you know what will happen!