Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, Scottish Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy Vol 7 (2) 2004

UNFIT TO BE UNFIT? A CHRISTIAN CONTRIBUTION TO THE HEALTHY LIFESTYLE DEBATE

Eric Stoddart
Issued Date: 10 Apr 2013

Abstract


Molly offers me a handful to sweets from her copious bed-side supply. She is evidently over-weight and the complicity of her family offers little hope that she will shed the tens of kilograms that are inhibiting her recovery. Who am I to say 'no thanks' if that merely compounds my inner disdain at her failure to make healthy choices?
This paper invites us to reflect on a Christian contribution to the debate on healthy lifestyle choices that the Scottish Executive and NHS Scotland are cur-rently promoting. How do we make a theologically-informed response to those who make unhealthy lifestyle choices? Where does personal responsibility and autonomy fit when our choices have fiscal implications for the wider community? Can we legitimately stigmatise people who fail to comply with others' model of health? To what extent does a Christian perspective clash with the ultimate value that the healthy lifestyle debate seems to place upon life? By exploring Christian ideas of humanity and shared non-innocence we aim to identify key responses that might enhance the contemporary practice of health promotion.

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DOI: 10.1558/hscc.v7i2.3

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