An institute for critical education in the South Pacific

A ʻAtenisi picture

Relaxing after class

Apr. '15 – Anthropologist criticises "obsession with thin bodies"; advises nutritional guidance instead


Tonga TV reporter ʻAlisi Tupou interviews Cottino prior to the lecture.

In an evening public lecture 13 April, Dr Gaia Cottino – visiting ‘Atenisi from the University of Rome – criticised developed nations for coaxing Tonga’s health ministry to adopt weight standards conforming to a the West's “obsession with thin bodies”. In a 40-minute talk boldly titled “There is no obesity epidemic in Tonga!”, the anthropologist advised donor nations to sponsor projects that encourage healthy diets rather than weight parameters. After speaking, Cottino fielded comments from local nutritionists and health officers. Excerpts from her talk were televised by TV Tonga the following evening.

book present

Cottino gifts her book, The Weight of the Body, to reference librarian Virginia Helu.