Hungry Gene: The Sciene Of Fat And The Future Of Thin Hardcover – Oct 1 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
More than 1.1 billion people worldwide are overweight or obese. How and why did the world get so fat? Shell, a journalist and codirector of the Program in Science Journalism at Boston University, explores the issue from many angles including the roles of genetics, pharmaceutical companies, the food industry and social class. She charts the growth in scientific research on obesity and obesity treatments in the last decade (from stomach stapling to the notoriously dangerous drug Fen-Phen), explaining the biology of metabolism that makes it so difficult to circumvent the body's appetite. Shell also explores the lifestyle culprits behind obesity, traveling to Micronesia to document the residents of the island of Kosrae, whose average life span has plummeted in recent years due to the introduction of high-fat Western food. Though she lucidly explains the physiology of fat, Shell fills the book with chatty profiles of patients and doctors ("Rudy Leibel is a small man and trim... He has a degree in English literature, and a weakness for poetry") and her prose reads like that of a glossy magazine. There is also much in the book that may be familiar to readers; the spotlights on new obesity treatments are compelling, but it will come as no surprise that too much high-fat, calorie-dense food and too little exercise trigger obesity. On the other hand, given that Big-Tobacco-style class-action lawsuits against fast food companies are under consideration, some may find Shell's arguments for the regulation of junk-food TV advertising, among other measures, timely and provocative.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This is not quick-fix diet book. It's a science journalist's study of why we are fatter than ever (60 percent of Americans should be skipping dessert today) and what is being done about it.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Top Customer Reviews
Have you ever dined at a fine restaurant, had a well planned, beautifully executed and thought provoking meal, only to have the entire experience scuttled by a ho-hum dessert and a burnt cup of coffee? Such was my encounter with The Hungry Gene.
Author Ellen Shell, a consistent contributor to the Atlantic Monthly, is among the top science writers in the United States today and she adroitly demonstrates her literary and research skills in every piece she creates. This book is no exception as she sets the stage with great finesse and takes us through a brief monograph of the philosophy and treatment of obesity from ancient history to the mid twentieth century. She then moves to the early theories of genetics and obesity and on to the core of her book, the absolutely riveting story (full of juicy back-stabbing details and deal making) of Dr. Jeffrey Friedman and his research team's obsessive search for the magic genetic bullet to cure obesity, and the resulting avarice of the pharmaceutical industry in trying to procure and apply the research.
Shell then elaborates on the genetic ties to obesity through a chapter dedicated to the Kosrae people (an indigenous Micronesian population brought to obesity by the Westernization of their foodways) and a chapter concerning pediatric and adolescent obesity illustrated through the study of children conceived and born during the Nazi siege of Holland of 1944-45 and additional prenatal research performed by Dr. David Barker, a Southampton, UK based epidemiologist. These studies are sited in support of the strong correlation between a pregnant mother's food intake and a child's pre-disposition towards obesity.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
If you enjoyed Jungle or Fast Food Nation, and/or are a nutrition/health enthusiast, this book is a must-read. Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2004 by Anand Rangarajan
Author Ellen Ruppel Shell puts the obesity epidemic in proper perspective with remarkable skill and thoroughness. She cites it as the no. 2 public health risk factor in the U.S. Read morePublished on July 28 2003 by Ann Sherwin
Science journalist Ellen Shell notes near the end of this fascinating study about being fat and how we got that way that "Twenty-seven percent of Americans are already obese. Read morePublished on May 21 2003 by Dennis Littrell
This is a very interesting book regarding the current scientific research on the biological and social causes of obesity and what society is doing about it (not that much). Read morePublished on April 9 2003 by Bert Krages
I loved this book. It has everything the others don't have, mystery, adventure, even gore, but hey, this is the human body we're talking about here, what did you expect? Read morePublished on March 6 2003 by C. Thompson
This book takes as its starting point the perception that people are getting too fat in general, and that a significant percentage of adults and even children are actually obese,... Read morePublished on Feb. 26 2003 by James R. Mccall
I bought the Hungry Gene after reading some great reviews of it--and I was not disappointed. This book is the Fast Food Nation of obesity-- thoroughly researched, well argued, and... Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2003 by Nathan Day
This writer is poorly informed about her subject. Her critique of Dr. Atkins in 100% incorrect. You would think that she would have done some research before criticizing him, but... Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2003 by Mike Finn
I have not read this book. I have, however, read reviews of it and articles written by it's author. I have also been overweight, but not for the past 20 years. Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2003 by Just Jane
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