The Evolution of Obesity

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $15.92
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 62%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (8) from $15.92   
  • New (5) from $28.45   
  • Used (3) from $15.92   


In this exploration of the relatively recent obesity epidemic, Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin probe evolutionary biology, history, physiology, and medical science to uncover the causes of our growing girth. The unexpected answer? Our own evolutionary success. A compelling and comprehensive examination of the causes and consequences of the obesity epidemic, The Evolution of Obesity offers insights into the question, Why are we getting fatter?
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews


Goes far beyond anything else that is available on obesity... Power and Schulkin deserve much credit for their bold attempt to combine evolutionary and reductionist explanations, and for their unflinching acknowledgment of complexity.

New Yorker - Elizabeth Colbert

Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin take a frankly Darwinian approach... The evolutionary account of obesity is a powerful one—indeed, almost too powerful.

New York Times - Mandy Katz

Elbowing the weight-loss guides on 'health' bookshelves, is a spate of new, more diet-neutral books that track the sociology of obesity, including... The Evolution of Obesity.

Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism - John Speakman

This will be an extremely useful introduction for graduate and undergraduate students and for mainstream researchers to set the wealth of endocrine and metabolic data connected with obesity into a wider framework of understanding.

Lancet - Nicholas Freudenberg

Power and Schulkin look for the origins of obesity in our evolutionary past... They stress the complexity of obesity's origin and caution against simplistic solutions, especially biomedical therapies for obesity that often have unintended adverse effects. Their goal is to elucidate the biological roots of weight gain, not make policy recommendations.

Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences - Wendy Mitchinson

Power and Schulkin argue that our present-day obesity crisis is the consequence of a 'mismatch' between our biology and the environment in which we live... It is in the detail of its explanation that their study excels.

Wilson Quarterly - Lynne Lamberg

While obesity may lead to pathology, and even be viewed as pathology, its biological underpinnings likely helped enable human evolution, say Power, a nutrition and metabolism researcher at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, and Schulkin, a behavioral neuroscientist with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

PsycCRITIQUES - Randall C. Flanery

A well written and scholarly tome with many fascinating observations and findings that highlight the many biological challenges to effective weight control in a modern society with a very efficient food delivery system. The breadth of scholarship is impressive and well documents in detail why humans are becoming obese.

New England Journal of Medicine

An excellent and comprehensive explanation for the increased incidence of obesity... Power and Schulkin suggest that there is a mismatch between our evolved biology and our modern life—the advantages of fat storage in the past have become disadvantages today.... This informative and easily read book is an important companion for students, fellows, and clinicians who wish to understand the causes of the obesity epidemic and how obesity might lead to metabolic disease.


Goes far beyond anything else that is available on obesity... Power and Schulkin deserve much credit for their bold attempt to combine evolutionary and reductionist explanations, and for their unflinching acknowledgment of complexity.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801892622
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 5/5/2009
  • Edition description: 20
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael L. Power is a senior research associate at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a research associate at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Jay Schulkin is director of the research department at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a research professor in Georgetown University's Department of Neuroscience. Power and Schulkin are the coauthors of The Evolution of the Human Placenta, also published by Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins University Press

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction Human Biology, Evolution, and Obesity 1

1 Humanity on the Fat Track 21

2 Our Early Ancestors 45

3 The Evolution of Meals 68

4 Evolution, Adaptation, and Human Obesity 90

5 Evolution, Adaptation, and the Perils of Modern Life 111

6 Energy, Metabolism, and the Thermodynamics of Life 136

7 Information Molecules and the Peptide Revolution 163

8 Appetite and Satiety 186

9 Getting Ready to Eat 206

10 The Paradox of Feeding 226

11 The Biology of Fat 244

12 Fat and Reproduction 265

13 Genetic and Epigenetic Correlates of Obesity 292

Conclusion: Surviving the Perils of Modern Life 317

References 331

Index 383

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)