‘It’s all right for you thinnies’:‘Obesity’, eating disorders, and COVID-19

Lauren O’Connell, Fiona Quigley, Oli Williams, Helen West, Sophie Metolli, Harry Pitham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Our title quotes what British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly said when comparing his COVID-19 experience (which required intensive care) with cabinet members who had mild symptoms. It is suggested that Johnson’s brush with mortality profoundly impacted him – it was followed by public declarations to lose weight and policy shifts he previously would have likely dismissed as nanny statism. While it is politically convenient for Johnson to link the severity of his illness (and by inference the impact of the virus more generally) with factors popularly promoted as within individual control (for example, bodyweight), he is not alone in exploiting this pandemic to promote simplistic and stigmatising ideas about bodyweight and health.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCOVID-19 and Co-production in Health and Social Care Research, Policy, and Practice: Volume 2: Co-production Methods and Working Together at a Distance
EditorsOli Williams
Place of PublicationBristol, UK
PublisherBristol University Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4473-6179-4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 24 May 2021


  • Obesity
  • Covid -19
  • Healthcare
  • Eating disorders
  • Stigma


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