Fat Politics

Fat Politics : The Real Story behind America's Obesity Epidemic

3.6 (165 ratings by Goodreads)
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Over the past twenty years, obesity has risen in the United States to epidemic proportions. Today, over sixty percent of Americans are overweight, and over one in four is obese. This book examines the cultural contradictions that underlie this massive transformation. Oliver's highly readable yet carefully documented book addresses the meaning of obesity in American life. At one level, the book outlines very straightforward issues such as controversies over the sources of obesity, its economic and social consequences, and its prospects for resolution. At another level, the book examines fatism, the last bastion of acceptable discrimination in the United States, particularly as it applies to women. Finally, the book makes a deeper argument about how obesity reflects a serious contradiction in American life. At no other time in human history has food been so easily available and survival so physically un-taxing. But rather than giving us greater freedom, our affluence has disempowered us. Most Americans continue to gain weight and fight a losing struggle to reduce their body sizes, and increasingly, the overweight are derided for their moral failure.
As more people become obese, this cultural paradox will grow. In the book's conclusion, Oliver outlines how the contradiction surrounding America's obesity epidemic may be resolved and where the battle lines in the coming fat wars are likely to be drawn.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 15.24mm | 204.12g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0195313208
  • 9780195313208
  • 741,382

Table of contents

Introduction: A Big, Fat Problem ; 1. What Is Fat? ; 2. How Obesity Became an Epidemic Disease ; 3. Why We Hate Fat People ; 4. Women, Fat, and the Sexual Market ; 5. Fat Genes and the Obesity Blame Game ; 6. Food and Weight Gain: Super Sized Misperceptions ; 7. Sloth, Capitalism, and the Paradox of Freedom ; 8. Obesity Policy: The Fix Is In ; 9. Unmaking the Obesity Epidemic
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Review quote

"In Fat Politics, Eric Oliver examines America's ongoing search for weapons of body mass destruction and reveals that the emperors of the current fat hysteria aren't wearing any clothes. This is an essential book for understanding the leading moral panic of our time." -Paul Campos, Professor of Law, University of Colorado, and author of The Diet Myth: Why America's Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health "A damning indictment of a culture awash in the paradox of too much choice, the shame of too much consumption, and the fear of a moral vacuum.... In one well-argued, boldly titled chapter after another, Oliver advances his view that we have made fatness 'a scapegoat for all our ills' and explores how we harm ourselves by doing so."-Daphne Merkin, Elle Magazine "Eric Oliver's book debunks almost every conventional theory that causally relates obesity to diseases and early death. It will infuriate countless obesity researchers, weight-loss doctors, and the food, diet, and pharmaceutical industries. Whether or not you agree with all of his critiques, one thing is indisputable: the entire field badly needs a good shakeup." -Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D., Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, New England Journal of Medicine, and
author of On The Take: How Medicine's Complicity with Big Business Can Endanger Your Health "Excellent."-marginalrevolution.com "Fat Politics is one of those rare books that manages to turn all your conventional ideas and easy assumptions on their heads, while somehow maintaining a probing, reasonable, and entertaining tone. Anyone who holds strong opinions-professional or personal-about American's obesity epidemic is going to have to grapple with this book." -Stephen Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us
Smarter "It's not obesity, but the panic over obesity, that's the real health problem, argues this scintillating contrarian study of the evergreen subject of American gluttony and sloth.... Oliver provides a lucid, engaging critique of obesity research and a shrewd analysis of the socioeconomic and cultural forces behind it. The result is a compelling challenge to the conventional wisdom about our bulging waistlines."-Publishers Weekly "Fat Politics skewers the conventional wisdom on obesity. Beautifully written and exhaustively researched, it is impossible to read this book without having your view of fat forever changed. I absolutely loved this book." -Steven D. Levitt, Professor of Economics, University of Chicago; author of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
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About J. Eric Oliver

J. Eric Oliver is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Democracy in Suburbia and The Paradoxes of Segregation.
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Rating details

165 ratings
3.6 out of 5 stars
5 18% (30)
4 38% (63)
3 31% (51)
2 11% (18)
1 2% (3)
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