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

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

by J. Eric Oliver
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

It seems almost daily we read newspaper articles and watch news reports exposing the growing epidemic of obesity in America. Our government tells us 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

See more details below

Overview

It seems almost daily we read newspaper articles and watch news reports exposing the growing epidemic of obesity in America. Our government tells us 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 Americans 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.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It's not obesity, but the panic over obesity, that's the real health problem, argues this scintillating contrarian study of the evergreen subject of American gluttony and sloth.... Oliver provides a lucid, engaging critique of obesity research and a shrewd analysis of the socioeconomic and cultural forces behind it. The result is a compelling challenge to the conventional wisdom about our bulging waistlines."—Publishers Weekly

"Fat Politics skewers the conventional wisdom on obesity. Beautifully written and exhaustively researched, it is impossible to read this book without having your view of fat forever changed. I absolutely loved this book."—Steven D. Levitt, Professor of Economics, University of Chicago; author of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

"Fat Politics is one of those rare books that manages to turn all your conventional ideas and easy assumptions on their heads, while somehow maintaining a probing, reasonable, and entertaining tone. Anyone who holds strong opinions—professional or personal—about American's obesity epidemic is going to have to grapple with this book." —Stephen Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter

"A damning indictment of a culture awash in the paradox of too much choice, the shame of too much consumption, and the fear of a moral vacuum.... In one well-argued, boldly titled chapter after another, Oliver advances his view that we have made fatness 'a scapegoat for all our ills' and explores how we harm ourselves by doing so."—Daphne Merkin, Elle Magazine

"Excellent."—marginalrevolution.com

"In Fat Politics, Eric Oliver examines America's ongoing search for weapons of body mass destruction and reveals that the emperors of the current fat hysteria aren't wearing any clothes. This is an essential book for understanding the leading moral panic of our time."—Paul Campos, Professor of Law, University of Colorado, and author of The Diet Myth: Why America's Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health

"Eric Oliver's book debunks almost every conventional theory that causally relates obesity to diseases and early death. It will infuriate countless obesity researchers, weight-loss doctors, and the food, diet, and pharmaceutical industries. Whether or not you agree with all of his critiques, one thing is indisputable: the entire field badly needs a good shakeup."—Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D., Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, New England Journal of Medicine, and author of On The Take: How Medicine's Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health

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)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195313208
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
09/28/2006
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
901,033
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >