Chapter 2 examines the social life of the public-health concept nutrición. It focuses on three sites in which educators teach basic nutrition principles: an elementary school, a rural health clinic, and an urban obesity clinic. It examines moments in communicative practice in which ideas shift as they move from one domain of knowledge to another—a man with diabetes adds extra sugar to his coffee because he knows it is fortified with iron; women keep their children from eating so-called healthy vegetables because of concern for microbes and pesticides. This chapter highlights an observation central to the book: the simplicity promised by reductive approaches to nourishment often led to advice that was unintelligible or even destructive. Whereas educators tended to link the failure to comply with obesity-prevention guidelines to patient ignorance, my research showed that many pedagogical collisions were not just epistemic but also tied to politics and practice.
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