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Fat Politics: The Real Story behind America's Obesity Epidemic

Overview

It seems almost daily we read newspaper articles and watch news reports exposing the growing epidemic of obesity in America. Our government tells we are experiencing a major health crisis, with sixty percent of Americans classified as overweight, and one in four as obese. But how valid are these claims? In Fat Politics, J. Eric Oliver shows how a handful of doctors, government bureaucrats, and health researchers, with financial backing from the drug and weight-loss industries, have campaigned to create standards ...
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Fat Politics: The Real Story behind America's Obesity Epidemic

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Overview

It seems almost daily we read newspaper articles and watch news reports exposing the growing epidemic of obesity in America. Our government tells we are experiencing a major health crisis, with sixty percent of Americans classified as overweight, and one in four as obese. But how valid are these claims? In Fat Politics, J. Eric Oliver shows how a handful of doctors, government bureaucrats, and health researchers, with financial backing from the drug and weight-loss industries, have campaigned to create standards that mislead the public. They mislabel more than sixty million Americans as "overweight," inflate the health risks of being fat, and promote the idea that obesity is a killer disease.
In reviewing the scientific evidence, Oliver shows there is little proof that obesity causes so much disease and death or that losing weight is what makes people healthier. Our concern with obesity, he writes, is fueled more by social prejudice, bureaucratic politics, and industry profit than by scientific fact. Misinformation pushes millions of Americans towards dangerous surgeries, crash diets, and harmful diet drugs, while we ignore other, more real health problems. Oliver goes on to examine why it is that American's despise fatness and explores why, despite this revulsion, we continue to gain weight. Fat Politics will topple your most basic assumptions about obesity and health. It is essential reading for anyone with a stake in the nation's--or their own--good health.
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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - KLIATT Review
Oliver, a political science professor, is an unlikely sort to write a book about obesity. He sets out to overturn every idea we've ever had about what's causing the rise in weight in this country. Oliver says that being fat is not what causes ill health, it's doing the things that got us fat that are unhealthy. He blames the government, the food industry, television, and just about every other aspect of our culture for our penchant to eat too much, and to eat unhealthy foods. Farm subsidies for corn production show up in convenience foods and desserts that have become cheaper than ever before, while healthy foods like fruit and vegetables have become more expensive. He blames meal portions in part for our weight gain, but primarily blames our incessant snacking, saying the average child now eats the equivalent of five meals a day. He also says that the common body mass weight scales are set too low, so that we all feel overweight, and that women's weights are especially too low, making it necessary for women to always be on a diet. He also wonders why we are so obsessed with fatness, when we should be concerned about fitness. His writing style is easy to read; however, he has 28 pages of notes and a lengthy index. Age Range: Ages 15 to adult. REVIEWER: Nola Theiss (Vol. 42, No. 1)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195313208
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 884,183
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


J. Eric Oliver is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Democracy in Suburbia and The Paradoxes of Segregation.

University of Chicago

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments

Introduction--A Big, Fat Problem

1. What is Fat?

2. How Obesity Became an Epidemic Disease

3. Why We Hate Fat People

4. Women, Fat, and the Sexual Market

5. Fat Genes and the Obesity Blame Game

6. Food and Weight Gain: Super Sized Misperceptions

7. Sloth, Capitalism, and the Paradox of Freedom

8. Obesity Policy: The Fix Is In

9. Unmaking the Obesity Epidemic

Notes

Index

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