Document Detail

Configuring users of cholesterol lowering foods: a review of biomedical discourse.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20828908     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This paper explores how users of foods containing phytosterols are 'configured' within biomedical research and writing on these substances. A growing range of such foods have been launched and marketed on the basis that they actively lower cholesterol. They are among the most prominent examples of a set of foods designated as 'functional foods'. The paper is based on an analysis of biomedical journal articles which address the use of phytosterols as a cholesterol lowering agent in humans. These include both original research papers and commentaries such as review articles, letters, editorials, news items and professional guidelines. My analysis suggests that users are constituted variously as autonomous, self-motivated consumers, patients and publics needing advice, people resistant to pill use, and practitioners looking for something to offer their patients. I characterise the imagined uses of the products as healthy/holistic, lazy/busy/contemporary, and incompetent use. These varying portrayals of users and their use of these food products entail different ways of understanding health identities and different allocations of responsibilities between the technology, user and health care professionals. I conclude that, while experts and regulators may attempt to configure 'correct' uses of these products, relatively little is known about the rationales and practices of actual users.
Kate Weiner
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review     Date:  2010-08-14
Journal Detail:
Title:  Social science & medicine (1982)     Volume:  71     ISSN:  1873-5347     ISO Abbreviation:  Soc Sci Med     Publication Date:  2010 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-10-11     Completed Date:  2010-12-01     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8303205     Medline TA:  Soc Sci Med     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1541-7     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
University of Nottingham, Institute for Science and Society, Law and Social Sciences Building, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, United Kingdom.
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MeSH Terms
Anticholesteremic Agents / administration & dosage*
Biomedical Research
Cholesterol / metabolism*
Functional Food*
Health Behavior
Hypercholesterolemia / diet therapy
Phytosterols / administration & dosage*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Anticholesteremic Agents; 0/Phytosterols; 57-88-5/Cholesterol

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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