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From The CriticsReviewer: Patrick L Remington, MD, MPH (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Description: This book presents a scholarly review of the causes of the obesity epidemic in the U.S., and practical strategies for healthcare leaders to consider for the future.
Purpose: The aim of this book is to provide public health professionals with a state-of-the-science overview of the causes of the obesity epidemic and a case for prevention and control. The factors that have caused the obesity epidemic — fundamental changes in society that have led to declines in physical activity and changes in diet — will not be easy to modify. The authors present a clear description of what is known about the causes of the epidemic, and a cogent review of possible solutions.
Audience: This book is written for a broad audience. Students, researchers, teachers, clinicians, and public health practitioners will find it clear, concise, and easy to read. The author has brought together over 25 national experts who bring a diversity of experience and expertise in the causes and consequences of obesity.
Features: The authors present a thorough review of the factors that have contributed to the increasing rates of obesity. They also identify prevention and control strategies that work and save money. However, there is little discussion about the real-life barriers that confront communities who attempt to implement these programs. Who will pay for worksite interventions? K-12 physical education works, but schools are eliminating programs due to funding shortfalls. Fast food industry marketing promotes unhealthy eating but what can be done about it? Topics are repeated in several chapters (e.g., definitions of obesity). This is bothersome when reading the book cover to cover, but permits each chapter to stand on its own.
Assessment: The authors present an excellent overview of the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to the worldwide obesity epidemic. Reading this book is the first step in confronting one of the most daunting public health problems of the 21st century. The challenge will be to find innovative strategies to translate what is known about improving diet and increasing physical activity into practice.