Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World

by Greg Critser (Author)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
You reap what you sow. According to Critser, a leading journalist on health and
obesity, America about 30 years ago went crazy sowing corn. Determined to
satisfy an American public that "wanted what it wanted when it wanted it,"
agriculture secretary Earl Butz determined to lower American food prices by
ending restrictions on trade and growing. The superabundance of cheap corn that
resulted inspired Japanese scientists to invent a cheap sweetener called "high
fructose corn syrup." This sweetener made food look and taste so great that it
soon found its way into everything from bread to soda pop. Researchers ignored
the way the stuff seemed to trigger fat storage. In his illuminating first book
(which began life as a cover story for Harper's Magazine), Critser details what
happened as this river of corn syrup (and cheap, lardlike palm oil) met with a
fast-food marketing strategy that prized sales-via supersized "value" meals-over
quality or conscience. The surgeon general has declared obesity an epidemic.
About 61% of Americans are now overweight-20% of us are obese. Type 2 (i.e.,
fat-related) diabetes is exploding, even among children. Critser vividly
describes the physical suffering that comes from being fat. He shows how the
poor become the fattest, victimized above all by the lack of awareness.
Critser's book is a good first step in rectifying that. In vivid prose conveying
the urgency of the situation, with just the right amount of detail for general
readers, Critser tells a story that they won't be able to shake when they pass
the soda pop aisle in the supermarket. This book should attract a wide readership.

From Library Journal
Childhood obesity, diabetes, and related illnesses are becoming major health
problems in America. Nutrition journalist Critser presents a critical analysis
of the many social and economic factors that make Americans, contrary to the
book's subtitle, the second-fattest people in the world (the South Sea Islanders
are fatter). He blames parents' reluctance to monitor their children's eating
habits; the marketing tactics of fast-food companies, which influence us to
overeat; the preponderance of fad diets; the phasing out of physical education
programs in schools; and the sale of fast foods at schools to save money on
dining facilities. Lower-income families have higher rates of obesity regardless
of race, ethnicity, and gender, which the author attributes to lack of
information about diet and exercise and the wide diversity of cultural beliefs
about weight, body size, and self-esteem. Critser urges Americans to tackle
obesity head on, concluding with descriptions of initiatives that worked when
communities launched a cooperative effort to change their eating habits and
avoid the path to lifelong obesity. An important work that belongs in all
nutrition and public health collections. [See also Robert Pool's excellent Fat:
Fighting the Obesity Epidemic and Eric Schlosser's scathing Fast Food
Nation.-Ed.]-Irwin Weintraub, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., New Yor.

Product Details

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (January 14, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0618164723



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