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

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

by J. Oliver
     
 

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Our government is telling us that obesity is a major health crisis, that sixty percent of Americans are "overweight," and that one in four is obese. But how true are these claims? In Fat Politics, Eric Oliver unearths the real story behind America's "obesity epidemic." Oliver shows how a handful of doctors, government bureaucrats, and health researchers,…  See more details below

Overview

Our government is telling us that obesity is a major health crisis, that sixty percent of Americans are "overweight," and that one in four is obese. But how true are these claims? In Fat Politics, Eric Oliver unearths the real story behind America's "obesity epidemic." Oliver shows how a handful of doctors, government bureaucrats, and health researchers, with financial backing from the drug and weight-loss industry, have campaigned to misclassify more than sixty million Americans as "overweight," to inflate the health risks of being fat, and to promote the idea that obesity is a killer disease. In reviewing the scientific evidence, Oliver shows there is little proof either that obesity causes so many diseases and deaths or that losing weight makes people any healthier. Our concern with obesity is fueled more by social prejudice, bureaucratic politics, and industry profit than by scientific fact. Such misinformation, Oliver argues, is the true problem with obesity in America. By telling us we need to be thin, the proponents of the "obesity epidemic" are pushing millions of Americans towards dangerous surgeries, crash diets, and harmful diet drugs. Oliver goes on to examine the surprising reasons why we hate fatness and why we are gaining weight, and also the real threats to our health that are being displaced by our fat obsession. Fat Politics not only topples our most basic assumptions about obesity and health, it highlights frightening dangers caused by making our weight a scapegoat for our real problems.

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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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199839117
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
11/15/2005
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
711,499
File size:
2 MB

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.

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