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The Fattening of America: How The Economy Makes Us Fat, If It Matters, and What To Do About It
     

The Fattening of America: How The Economy Makes Us Fat, If It Matters, and What To Do About It

by Eric A. Finkelstein, Laurie Zuckerman
 

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In The Fattening of America, renowned health economist Eric Finkelstein, along with business writer Laurie Zuckerman, reveal how the U.S. economy has become the driving force behind our expanding waistlines. Blending theory, research, and engaging personal anecdotes the authors discuss how declining food costs—especially for high-calorie, low-nutrient

Overview

In The Fattening of America, renowned health economist Eric Finkelstein, along with business writer Laurie Zuckerman, reveal how the U.S. economy has become the driving force behind our expanding waistlines. Blending theory, research, and engaging personal anecdotes the authors discuss how declining food costs—especially for high-calorie, low-nutrient foods—and an increasing usage of technology, which make Americans more sedentary, has essentially led us to eat more calories than we burn off.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Fatty, fat, fat, fat,” chants Bart Simpson. He has a point. Americans are getting fatter. But health economist Finkelstein (public health economics program, Research Triangle Inst.; coauthor, with Phaedra S. Corso and Ted R. Miller, The Incidence and Economic Burden of Injuries in the United States) and business writer Zuckerman (coauthor with Mary Cantando, Nine Lives: Stories of Women Business Owners Landing on Their Feet) analyze the finances behind the fat. They trace some of the familiar causes of the bulging American waistline that Greg Critzer identified in Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World. They weigh in on the economics of obesity, which they trace back to predictable sources such as school lunch rooms, fast food, television, commuting, and working moms. Then they target some surprising causes, including health insurance. On the flip side, they detail the economic consequences of obesity. For instance, obese employees take more sick days than do normal-weight employees-and their paychecks are slimmer. The authors highlight fascinating new scientific research into the causes of obesity and offer tips on lightening your load over the long haul. This book serves up a healthy selection for public and academic library business collections.—Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin, Whitewater (Library Journal, January 2008)

Everyone knows Americans are growing fatter, but health economist Finkelstein crunches the economic figures behind the nation's obesity epidemic and the results aren't pretty. Along with health-care writer Zuckerman, researcher Finkelstein delves into how modern technology reduces the cost of producing higher-calorie processed goods, decreases our activity level and puts our health in danger. Finkelstein debunks myths about the long-range cost of food production and consumption and scrutinizes the impact of genetics and U.S. fiscal policy on the nation's waistline, frequently using economics metrics in his analysis. Generous with summaries of major points, Finkelstein simplifies current stats to explain how the country's thunderous weight gain is straining Medicare and Medicaid and hurting our military readiness. The only positive effect he sees from the obesity epidemic is the creation of the “ObesEconomy”—a market sustained by gyms, diet drugs and other products and services designed to curb weight gain. Horrified by studies that reveal that obese children have a quality of life similar to children with cancer, the investigatory economist even throws in some health tips on dropping pounds. Despite a frequent reliance on economic tools and indicators, this combination study/motivational guide makes for a pleasant educational read, comparable to a vegetable puree snuck into a dessert. (Jan.) (Publishers Weekly, December 3, 2007)

“Finkelstein’s tone is chatty and accessible…obesity is ultimately bad economics.” (Financial Times, Saturday 16th February 2008)

“The authors show there is a casual relationship between the growth of the waistline and the changing shape of the economy.” (Securities & Investment Review, March 2008)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780470124666
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
01/09/2008
Pages:
274
Sales rank:
1,139,109
Product dimensions:
0.81(w) x 9.00(h) x 6.00(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“Fatty, fat, fat, fat,” chants Bart Simpson. He has a point. Americans are getting fatter. But health economist Finkelstein (public health economics program, Research Triangle Inst.; coauthor, with Phaedra S. Corso and Ted R. Miller, The Incidence and Economic Burden of Injuries in the United States) and business writer Zuckerman (coauthor with Mary Cantando, Nine Lives: Stories of Women Business Owners Landing on Their Feet) analyze the finances behind the fat. They trace some of the familiar causes of the bulging American waistline that Greg Critzer identified in Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World. They weigh in on the economics of obesity, which they trace back to predictable sources such as school lunch rooms, fast food, television, commuting, and working moms. Then they target some surprising causes, including health insurance. On the flip side, they detail the economic consequences of obesity. For instance, obese employees take more sick days than do normal-weight employees-and their paychecks are slimmer. The authors highlight fascinating new scientific research into the causes of obesity and offer tips on lightening your load over the long haul. This book serves up a healthy selection for public and academic library business collections.—Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin, Whitewater (Library Journal, January 2008)

Everyone knows Americans are growing fatter, but health economist Finkelstein crunches the economic figures behind the nation's obesity epidemic and the results aren't pretty. Along with health-care writer Zuckerman, researcher Finkelstein delves into how modern technology reduces the cost of producing higher-calorie processed goods, decreases our activity level and puts our health in danger. Finkelstein debunks myths about the long-range cost of food production and consumption and scrutinizes the impact of genetics and U.S. fiscal policy on the nation's waistline, frequently using economics metrics in his analysis. Generous with summaries of major points, Finkelstein simplifies current stats to explain how the country's thunderous weight gain is straining Medicare and Medicaid and hurting our military readiness. The only positive effect he sees from the obesity epidemic is the creation of the “ObesEconomy”—a market sustained by gyms, diet drugs and other products and services designed to curb weight gain. Horrified by studies that reveal that obese children have a quality of life similar to children with cancer, the investigatory economist even throws in some health tips on dropping pounds. Despite a frequent reliance on economic tools and indicators, this combination study/motivational guide makes for a pleasant educational read, comparable to a vegetable puree snuck into a dessert. (Jan.) (Publishers Weekly, December 3, 2007)

“Finkelstein’s tone is chatty and accessible…obesity is ultimately bad economics.” (Financial Times, Saturday 16th February 2008)

“The authors show there is a casual relationship between the growth of the waistline and the changing shape of the economy.” (Securities & Investment Review, March 2008)

Meet the Author

Eric A. Finkelstein, PhD, MHA, is a nationally acclaimed expert on the subject of economics and obesity. He is a health economist with the research organization RTI International in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and teaches health economics at Duke University. His work focuses on the economic causes and consequences of health-related behaviors, with a primary emphasis on obesity. Finkelstein has published over thirty peer-reviewed articles on the economics of obesity and related behaviors. His research has been featured on the front page of USA Today and has been covered in the Economist, the New York Times, Forbes, the Washington Post, and many other newspaper, radio, and television outlets.

Laurie Zuckerman left her corporate PR job in 1999 to make writing her full-time career. She contributes columns and feature articles to a number of business journals and lifestyle magazines, and writes for businesses ranging from Fortune 500s to startups, with a focus on health care, high tech, and business.

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