Synopses & Reviews
Once dismissed by the medical profession as a purely cosmetic problem, obesity now ranks second only to smoking as a wholly preventable cause of death. Indeed, it's implicated in 300,000 deaths each year and is a major contributor to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression. Even conservative estimates show that 15% of all children are now considered to be overweight--worldwide there are 22 million kids under five years old that are defined as fat. Supersized portions, unhealthy diets, and too little physical activity certainly contribute to what's making kids "fat." But that's not the whole story. Researchers are at a loss to explain why obesity rates have risen so suddenly and so steeply in the closing decades of the 20th century. But head out to the beaches, playgrounds, and amusement parks, and it's obvious that overweight children are more numerous and conspicuous. We see it in our neighborhoods and we read it in the headlines. Our national--indeed the world--is in crisis. But knowledge is power and it's time to arm ourselves in the battle to win the war on obesity. Fed up! is just what the doctor ordered. Based in part on the Institute of Medicine's ground-breaking report on childhood obesity, this new book from family physician and journalist Susan Okie provides in-depth background on the issue; shares heart-rending but instructive case studies that illustrate just how serious and widespread the problem is; and gives honest, authoritative, science-based advice that constitute our best weapons in this critical battle.
"Drawing on up-to-date research as well as personal stories, Okie presents the astounding statistics on what she calls 'the fattest generation' and the dire health risk the obesity epidemic poses. Okie, a Harvard-trained family physician and Washington Post medical reporter, tackles obesity's causes methodically and without sensation, explicating the biology of body mass and appetite regulation and the relationship between calorie intake and energy expenditure. She also examines some of the rare hormone problems and genetic disorders that, in a tiny minority of children, can cause obesity. Having explored how obesity lowers self-esteem, the author persuasively shows that recent shifts in the environment are most likely to blame for today's childhood obesity epidemic: sprawling suburban neighborhoods that discourage walking, ballooning portions in restaurant food, poor choices in school lunches, a decline in home cooking and the resulting tendency to snack rather than sit down for a family meal are among the factors she cites. Commenting analytically on pediatricians' reluctance to deal with obesity, Okie documents the innovative efforts of certain states and schools to engineer healthy eating and exercise programs. She also meets and describes several families who have put diet and exercise plans into action, or whose children have been hospitalized for obesity. Never preachy or patronizing, Okie will inform and empower all concerned parents about a problem whose time has come (as shown by a New York Times Magazine piece on the subject and recent books like Generation Extra Large." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)