Fat: Fighting the Obesity Epidemic

Hardcover | December 15, 2000

byRobert Pool

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When the leptin gene was discovered in 1994, news articles predicted that there might soon be an easy, pharmaceutical solution to the growing public health crisis of obesity. Yet this scientific breakthrough merely proved once again how difficult the fight against fat really is. Despite themany appetite-suppressants, diet pills, and weight-loss programs available today, approximately 30 percent of Americans are obese. And that number is expanding rapidly. Fat is the engaging story of the scientific quest to understand and control body weight. Covering the entire twentieth century, Robert Pool chronicles the evolving blame-game for fat--from being a result of undisciplined behavior to subconscious conflicts, physiological disease, andenvironmental excess. Readers in today's weight-conscious society will be surprised to learn that being overweight was actually encouraged by doctors and popular health magazines up until the 1930s, when the health risks associated with being overweight were publicly recognized. Thus began decadesof research and experiments that subsequently explained appetite, metabolism, and the development of fat cells. Pool effectively reanimates the colorful characters, curious experiments, brilliant insights and wrong turns that led to contemporary scientific understanding of America's epidemic.While he acknowledges the advances in the pharmacological fight against flab, he underscores that the real problem of obesity is not losing the weight but keeping it off. Drugs offer a quick fix, but they aren't the ultimate answer. American society must remedy the unhealthy daily environments ofits cities and towns, and those who have struggled with their weight and have experienced the "yo-yo" cycle of dieting must understand the underlying science of body weight that makes their struggle more than a question of willpower.

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From Our Editors

How did we get from images of "pleasingly plump" women and "jolly fat men" to our current horror of excess poundage and obsession with losing weight? This thoughtful and often very entertaining book examines societal attitudes of corpulence throughout history and the science that has nudged us along in these views.

From the Publisher

When the leptin gene was discovered in 1994, news articles predicted that there might soon be an easy, pharmaceutical solution to the growing public health crisis of obesity. Yet this scientific breakthrough merely proved once again how difficult the fight against fat really is. Despite themany appetite-suppressants, diet pills, and we...

Robert Pool is a freelance science writer who has worked on the staff of Science and Nature. He is also the author of Beyond Engineering: How Society Shapes Technology and Eve's Rib: Searching for the Biological Roots of Sex Differences. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

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Paperback|Mar 24 2017

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 5.79 × 9.09 × 1.18 inPublished:December 15, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195118537

ISBN - 13:9780195118537

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From Our Editors

How did we get from images of "pleasingly plump" women and "jolly fat men" to our current horror of excess poundage and obsession with losing weight? This thoughtful and often very entertaining book examines societal attitudes of corpulence throughout history and the science that has nudged us along in these views.

Editorial Reviews

"This fascinating investigative journey into the history of obesity will go a long way toward removing the stigma attached to being overweight and will increase our understanding of the complex issues that contribute to the obesity epidemic. Highly recommended for all libraries."--LibraryJournal