Fat Politics: The Real Story Behind America's Obesity Epidemic (Paperback)
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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.
About 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.