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The Edit: The Limits of Choice
The Edit

The Edit: The Limits of Choice

Can our lifestyles transform our health, the quest for happier McDonalds pigs, and more in this week's #TheEdit.

2 minute read

25th Feb 2022

Jean-Paul Sartre famously said: “We are our choices.” But how much of our lives do we actually choose? Which elements of our lives do we have control over, and which are the product of the countries, the societies, and the systems in which we are born in too?

When it comes to health, this conflict between individual choice and the wider systems at play is paramount. Is the obesity crisis an individual problem or a governmental problem? Are we able to improve our lives through healthy choices, or are we merely subscribing to cultural norms? How much of our own decisions are shaped by what we think our peers are doing, and how much are we able to influence others through our own example?

Here’s what you might have missed this week:

  • Does exercise offer empowerment, or merely the feeling of it? Sophie McBain explores the politics of working out. – The New Statesman
  • Could we lose delicious foods forever? – Vox’s Benji Jones talks with Dan Saladino about his new book, Eating to Extinction. – Vox Conversations
  • Carl Icahn’s push for happier McDonald’s pigs is just the start – Financial Times
  • Dr Rangan Chatterjee, one of the UK’s most influential doctors, on how we can transform our health and happiness. – How to Fail with Elizabeth Day
  • How can leaders promote healthy group norms? Dominic Packer & Jay Van Bavel explore the power of ingroup prototypes – The Atlantic

“Policy makers so often believe that health and indeed the public believe that health is down to individual responsibility. But in actuality, it’s down to wider determinants. People aren’t more obese now because they suddenly lost the willpower to change or their biology has changed.”

– Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive of The Health Foundation