Synopses & Reviews
What in American society has changed so dramatically that nearly 60 percent of us are now overweight, plunging the nation into what the surgeon general calls an "epidemic of obesity"? Greg Critser engages every aspect of American life - class, politics, culture, and economics - to show how we have made ourselves the second fattest people on the planet (after South Sea Islanders).
Fat Land highlights the groundbreaking research that implicates cheap fats and sugars as the alarming new metabolic factor making our calories stick and shows how and why children are too often the chief metabolic victims of such foods. No one else writing on fat America takes as hard a line as Critser on the institutionalized lies we've been telling ourselves about how much we can eat and how little we can exercise. His expose of the Los Angeles schools' opening of the nutritional floodgates in the lunchroom and his examination of the political and cultural forces that have set the bar on American fitness low and then lower, are both discerning reporting and impassioned wake-up calls.
Disarmingly funny, Fat Land leaves no diet book - including Dr. Atkins's - unturned. Fashions, both leisure and street, and American-style religion are subject to Critser's gimlet eye as well. Memorably, Fat Land takes on baby-boomer parenting shibboleths - that young children won't eat past the point of being full and that the dinner table isn't the place to talk about food rules - and gives advice many families will use to lose.
Critser's brilliantly drawn futuristic portrait of a Fat America just around the corner and his all too contemporary foray into the diabetes ward of a major children's hospital make Fat Land a chilling but brilliantly rendered portrait of the cost in human lives - many of them very young lives - of America's obesity epidemic.
"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." Publishers Weekly
"An important work that belongs in all nutrition and public health collections." Library Journal
"Food science, metabolic mechanics, and medical details are all set forth....The text, though, is generally lean and lucid, with wry commentary on the social aspects of Phat America." Kirkus Reviews
What in American sociery has changed so dramatically to make nearly 60 percent of us overweight? Can we fix what the surgeon general calls a national "epidemic of obesity"? Greg Critser engages every aspect of American life to determine how we have made ourselves the second fattest people on the planet (after South Sea Islanders).
Fat Land grapples with the expanding American waistline by tracing surprising connections among class, politics, culture, and economics. With groundbreaking research, Critser also investigates the dark metabolic underside of cheap fats and sugars and how their calories stick.
Incisive, discerning, and disarmingly funny, Fat Land leaves no diet book unturned; fashion, religion, fitness standards, and baby boom parenting are all subject to Critser's sharp eye. He looks at the very personal stories of scores of health professionals, their patients, and individuals who don't receive medical attention. Finally, Fat Land is a chilling but brilliantly rendered portrait of the cost in human lives - many of them very young lives - of America's obesity epidemic.
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.
About the Author
GREG CRITSER is a longtime chronicler of the modern pharmaceutical industry and the politics of medicine. His columns and essays on the subject have appeared in Harper's Magazine, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, and elsewhere. Critser is the author of Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World (Houghton Mifflin), which the American Diabetes Association called "the definitive journalistic account of the modern obesity epidemic." He lives in Pasadena, California, with his wife, Antoinette Mongelli.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments Introduction 1 1 Up Up Up! (Or, Where the Calories Came From) 7 2 Supersize Me (Who Got the Calories into our Bellies) 20 3 World Without Boundaries (Who Let the Calories In) 30 4 Why the Calories Stayed on Our Bodies 63 5 What Fat Is, What Fat Isnt 109 6 What the Extra Calories Do to You 127 7 What Can Be Done 155 Appendix: Fat Land Facts 179 Notes 185 Index 223