Fat Land

Fat Land

How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World

Book - 2004
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In this astonishing expose, journalist Greg Critser looks beyond the sensational headlines to reveal why nearly 60 percent of Americans are now overweight. Critser's sharp-eyed reportage and sharp-tongued analysis make for a disarmingly funny and truly alarming book. Critser investigates the many factors of American life -- from supersize to Super Mario, from high-fructose corn syrup to the high cost of physical education in schools -- that have converged and conspired to make us some of the fattest people on the planet. He also explains why pediatricians are treating conditions rarely before noticed in children, why Type 2 diabetes is on the rise, and how agribusiness has unwittingly altered the American diet.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 2004, c2003
Edition: 1st Mariner Books ed. --
ISBN: 9780618380602
0618380604
Branch Call Number: 362.19639800973 Cri
Characteristics: xxi, 232 p. : ill

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FindingJane Jul 25, 2014

This book was written over a decade ago but it remains just as pertinent now as in 2003. Just take a look around you when you have a spare moment. Look at the people passing on the streets, sitting in restaurants or coffee shops. Check out some of the neighborhoods with lower-income residents. You’ll see it’s true. America has become a nation of overweight hogs. But this book isn’t a diet book. It digs deep into our history to find the sources of our obsession with weight, both weight loss and weight gain, and turns up a lot of disturbing information. Weight is more than just a personal issue; whether people are fat or thin has been of concern to everyone from diet gurus to the politicos in office. All sorts of topics are related to obesity: consumerism, medicine, sex, politics, religion, society, psychology, science and scholastics, to name a few. This book is excellent on giving the skinny (sorry, couldn’t resist) on their significance and their relevance to the title issue. It also includes a short story about a very scary future that lies in wait if matters aren't brought under control. In short, this is an excellent book about a very old problem, providing insight in easy-to-understand language. Whether or not you’ve had difficulties bringing your weight to a manageable level, it’s a book any concerned American should read.

c
Cecilturtle
Apr 21, 2014

Critser is on a mission to convince the reader of the horrible impacts of poor eating habits stemming from fast foods and of limited exercise on the current obesity crisis.
He does a good job of describing the economic, societal and cultural elements which have all contributed to this state: from cheap eats made from unhealthy ingredients to cuts in physical education programs, there is a convergence of issues which have led to huge weight gains throughout the US.
There are some weaknesses: a vague attempt at the genetics and biology of weight gain (which did nothing to convince me), a gross exaggeration of 'future man combating excessive weight' and the esthetics whereby men and women prefer their lean counterparts (while ignoring cultural canons), but generally the message is clear: the poorer you are, the more likely you are to be fat.
Like all one-sided presentations, this book fails to turn to other, more successful, cultures like European ones (especially France which has tremendous success with its five fruits and vegetables campaign) but I found the conclusions and next steps solid with some innovative and optimistic conclusions. Ultimately only education and access to healthy foods will help reshape mentalities, a process that will be slow.

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