• Health education emphasizing risks is a form of pedagogy, which, like other forms, serves to legitimize ideologies and social practices. Risk discourse in the public health sphere allows the state, as the owner of knowledge, to exert power of the bodies of its citizens. Risk discourse, therefore, especially when it emphasizes lifestyle risks, serves as an effective Foucauldian agent of surveillance and control that is difficult to challenge because of its manifest benevolent goal of maintaining standards of health. In doing so, it draws attention away from the structural causes of ill-health.