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Heavy! The Surprising Reasons America Is the Land of the Free - And the Home of the Fat Paperback – September 30, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-3642201349 ISBN-10: 3642201342 Edition: 2012th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Copernicus; 2012 edition (September 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3642201342
  • ISBN-13: 978-3642201349
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,676,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


America's emerging "fat war" threatens to pit a shrinking population of trim Americans against an expanding population of heavy Americans in raging policy debates over "fat taxes" and "fat bans." These "fat policies" would be designed to constrain what people eat and drink -- and theoretically crimp the growth in Americans' waistlines and in the country's healthcare costs. Richard McKenzie's HEAVY! The Surprising Reasons America Is the Land of the Free -- And The Home of the Fat offers new insight into the economic causes and consequences of America's dramatic weight gain over the past half century. It also uncovers the follies of seeking to remedy the country's weight problems with government intrusions into people's excess eating, arguing that controlling people's eating habits is fundamentally different from controlling people's smoking habits. McKenzie controversially links America's weight gain to a variety of causes: * the growth in world trade freedom, * the downfall of communism, * the spread of free-market economics, * the rise of women's liberation, * the long-term fall in real minimum wage, * and the rise of competitive markets on a global scale. In no small way -- no, in a very BIG way -- America is the "home of the fat" because it has been for so long the "land of the free." Americans' economic, if not political, freedoms, however, will come under siege as well-meaning groups of "anti-fat warriors" seek to impose their dietary, health, and healthcare values on everyone else. HEAVY! details the unheralded consequences of the country's weight gain, which include greater fuel consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases, reduced fuel efficiency of cars and planes, growth in health insurance costs and fewer insured Americans, reductions in the wages of heavy people, and required reinforcement of rescue equipment and hospital operating tables.

From the Back Cover

In HEAVY! Professor McKenzie addresses ‘the coming fat (policy) war’ over proposed fat taxes and bans, making the case for heavy people bearing the full burden of their weight-related costs.

America has become the heaviest country in the world. This book lays out the unheralded, mainly economic reasons for the country’s weight gain, which include – believe it or not – the growth in world trade freedom, the downfall of communism, and the rise of women’s liberation. The consequences of this trend are a HEAVY! burden as well, resulting in greater emissions of greenhouse gases, rising health insurance costs and fewer insured Americans, reductions in the wages of heavy people, and requiring reinforced rescue equipment and hospital operating tables.

“If you aren’t interested in the economic, political or health implications of a heavier America, then this book is not for you. But if you want a view on the obesity “crisis” that is informed, balanced and full of surprising causes and consequences for America’s excess tonnage, and suspect that there is more to lose than pounds from turning politicians loose on this problem, then read this book."

Dwight Lee
William J. O'Neil Chair of Global Markets and Freedom,
Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University

"Richard McKenzie provides an entertaining tour of the economic, biological, and social causes and consequences of Americans' eating habits."

J. Daniel Hammond
Hultquist Family Professor
Department of Economics, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem

"Vividly written and full of insight, HEAVY! powerfully illustrates how the economics of obesity will be shaping our health, wealth, and the coming policy debates around foods, fuels, and freedom of choice."

Lorens A. Helmchen, Associate Professor, George Mason University

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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Diane Fallon on December 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
I remember the first anti-smoking laws which made it illegal to smoke on airplanes went into effect. I said to anyone who would listen (not many) that this was just the first step to banning smoking altogether. The majority of people disagreed with that assessment. Well, look where we've come. And now, look where we're going. The final frontier, the sacred cow, sort of speak. Richard McKenzie's fat-filled, funny and meticulously researched book, " Heavy: The Surprising Reason America Is the Land of the Free - And the Home of the Fat, describes in glorious detail how fat is shaping our economy, health legislation and politics. He leaves no doubt that fat is fast climbing to #1 on the Feds hit list. This may seem a bit cruel and prosecutorial to all the millions who've been forced to stop smoking and, as a result, ballooned to obesity by trading cigarettes for food, but apparently the busybody Feds have never learned the lessons of cause and effect. Or, most likely still, they just don't care.

The design of the book makes it easy for the reader to get a taste (calorie free, of course) of its content through the use of sidebars so one can quickly learn some interesting facts and get drawn into the discussion. I suggest the browser immediately read the first chapter. This is a terrific start to the book, which hilariously describes one of the too many plane rides the author has had to suffer through while having half his seat encroached upon. We've all been there. It's unpleasant for the encroachee as well as for the encroacher.

The time may be sooner than later when you go to the post office (if still around) and see that Public Enemy #1 is not a poster of a bank robber or drug dealer but the 350 pound guy who sat next to you on the airplane. I kid you not.
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