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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.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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.
--Irwin Weintraub, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., New York
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Reading this book really opened my eyes. I've been trying my whole life to exercise and eat right, but I never had the right motivation. Read morePublished on June 19 2004
I was prepared to hate this writer, given the vitriol on this site. But once I read the book, I realized he was right: it's one thing for fact acceptance people like myself to want... Read morePublished on May 19 2004
Welcome, Savage Love readers, to the battlegrounds concerning this overpraised book.
Mr. Critser has one good, solid point in Fat Land: American society has largely decided... Read more
I was actually going to buy this book until I read the author's personal account of the events which led him to write it. Read morePublished on May 1 2004
I felt guilty sitting on the couch reading this book. So I upped my cardiovascular workouts and began weight training. Then I questioned the food I put into my mouth. Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2004 by Jason A. Tselentis
Okay, pardon the pun in the "dense in detail". However, this is a comprehensive, extensively researched and documented study of American obesity, and plowing through the numerous... Read morePublished on Jan. 28 2004 by Michael K. McKeon
"Fat Land" is a fascinating and quick read, very much in the same spirit as "Fast Food Nation." Instead of exposing one particular industry, like "Fast", this book seeks to answer... Read morePublished on Jan. 11 2004 by Alex Nichols, author of Shadow Rock
I can't believe that horrible review bashing the author of this book. This is the most amazing and revealing book I have ever read. Read morePublished on Dec 16 2003 by robert p cordova
All those assertions and conclusions! Are any of them substantiated? Yes! Mr. Critser goes to great lengths to quote his sources in the ample appendices. Read morePublished on Nov. 20 2003 by John Tangney