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Female Fertility and the Body Fat Connection (Women in Culture and Society) Paperback – May 1, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0226265469 ISBN-10: 0226265463 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Women in Culture and Society
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226265463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226265469
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,720,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Yes, women, there is such a thing as being too lean--if a working reproductive system is desired, that is. In Female Fertility and the Body Fat Connection, Dr. Rose Frisch neatly condenses 30 years of her own dogged research into one illuminating thesis: a critical, minimum amount of body fat is necessary for reproduction. To prove her theory, Frisch virtually opens her lifelong research journal, offering human sexuality refresher notes here, anthropological perspectives there, anecdotes from worldwide scientific conferences, and a heavy dose of the fascinating studies she has initiated and supported. She shows how body fat (not chronological age) plays the lead role in initiating menarche; how a lack of body fat signals the brain to "turn off" a woman's ability to ovulate; and how exercise and food intake can be maximized for long-term health. Mathematical formulae to help women assess their "fertile" body mass index provide the only tools for encouraging pregnancy here. Frisch calls her work a "scientific saga," undoubtedly because of the trials she endured as a humble researcher toting a whopper of a theory. But, she prophecies, the saga shall further unfold as societies digest--and act upon--these exciting biological discoveries. --Liane Emory Thomas --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Although women tend to abhor body fat, it plays an important role in the reproductive process. Frisch (associate professor emerita, Ctr. for Population and Development Studies, Harvard Sch. of Public Health) has studied the relationship between body composition and fertility for many years. In her fascinating book, she explains the intricate relationships among weight, body composition, and hormones. Using data from her longitudinal studies of young girls and women, she demonstrates that a "critical fitness level" is necessary for reproduction, noting that women who are too lean or too fat have trouble conceiving. Frisch also shows that diet and exercise are very important for women's long-term health and tells readers how to calculate their body mass index, the ratio of weight to height that indicates fitness. Charts will allow readers to see if their body mass index is within the healthy range. Unlike more clinical resources like C. Maud Doherty and Melanie Morrissey Clar's The Fertility Handbook, Frisch's book provides a thoroughly understandable account of important scientific research that will provide women with the tools to regulate their health. Highly recommended for all collections. Barbara M. Bibel, Oakland P.L., CA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A reader on April 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This fascinating, intelligent book makes for quick reading and lots of thinking. I wish I'd discovered Rose Frisch a long time ago, as she explains some events of puberty that, had I understood them at the time, would have alarmed me far less. This was an encouraging, lively, and absorbing book. Hopefully it will help women struggling with infertilty and body image to get to the bottom of at least one area of potential misunderstanding. I've recommended this book to several friends and will continue to get the word out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A reader on October 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book lays out a fascinating analysis of the causal relationship between fatness and fertility, and it is undoubtedly a testament to the enduring power of the author's work that so many of the ideas in this book seem quite intuitive to me--I've grown up with these ideas generally accepted. The empirical analysis in the book is first-rate, and I found the population studies illuminating.

My complaint, though, is the the incessant name-dropping and asides about where she was when data was found or a conclusion reached are almost unendurably tedious. I appreciate that she has a great deal of respect for her collaborators, and I certainly appreciate how difficult it must have been for a woman to propose a totally new hypothesis to the male-dominated medical community of the early 1970s, but that really belongs in her autobiography, not in a piece of analysis. The inclusion of these personal asides detracts from the otherwise dispassionate, analytical tone and distracts from her very interesting and really revolutionary ideas.

I am, perhaps, too fussy as this is really my only complaint about the book. It is otherwise an elegant synopsis of 30 years of research and a helpful resource for those trying to conceive or generally interested in conception. But enough with the names and CVs.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Rhymes on April 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is meant for people who are 1) thin or underweight and/or exercise too much 2) a medical student or one interested in the mechanics of fertility or 3) Overweight/Obese women looking to understand WHY being overweight/obese is impairing their fertility (BMI > than 27). For the average women who does not fall into these three categories and is looking for insight into her infertility, I would advise this book is not the right one for you. If you are still curious, check it out from your local library (as I did), and you won't be disappointed you spent any money.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful informative book. It's an invaluable work for anyone who's looking to understand female fertility, and a great read too.
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