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When an entire society is told that thinner is better and studies everywhere agree diets don't work, it's time to take a look at the assumptions behind the messages. For better or worse, this happens in Paul Campos' (Jurismania) book The Obesity Myth. Packed full of lengthy discussions of popular studies (particularly the Harvard nurses study), dense chapters run through statistics and conclusions at a breathtaking pace. Campos regularly insists on two points: BMI is basically meaningless, and a variety of media-based sources are contributing to an enormous industry that blends oversized portions with trendy, potentially harmful, diets. He grabs attention to the first claim with early assertions that by BMI standards, Brad Pitt is overweight and George Clooney is obese; more detailed discussion covers how insurance companies developed the BMI tables in their earliest forms and the federal government later tinkered with measurements in a way that accounts for much of the sudden "explosion" in obesity (yes, a BMI chart is included at the end of the book). Repeatedly, Campos rails against media stars whose main qualification is their leanness, questions medical conclusions, and demands that we look at weight as a class issue. Also highlighted is the idea of the diet industry being an extremely powerful political force, which may be at the root of the controversy; the hollering about his sources is likely to be louder than the comments about his accuracy in assessing those sources. As with any highly inflammatory topic, a single book presents only a part of the whole picture--but the myth-busting opinions offered here are an important part of the weight-based discussions. --Jill Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Just as low-carb dieting becomes a national obsession and McDonald's begins downsizing its super-sizing, Campos, a law professor and syndicated columnist, offers a sure-to-be scandalous message: maybe fat isn't all that bad. Through solid prose, Campos builds a case against the "social institutions" that have misled the public about the dangers of being overweight. He boldly states that a cultural phenomenonsociety's hysterical fear of body fatis the real health hazard, not the over-consumption of food. Through a series of anecdotes, readers are told that the media is responsible for crushing healthy body images (particularly women's); how the dieting industry perpetuates the myth of obesity for its own gain; and how yo-yo dieting cycles have destroyed more lives than obesity ever will. Campos also says there's no real medical or scientific justification that fat is bad. "Given that Americans are enjoying longer lives and better health than ever before, the claim that four out of five of us are running serious health risks because of our weight sounds exactly like the sort of exaggeration that can produce a cultural epidemic of fear." While the studies and statistics Campos presents are convincing enough to launch a new debate about weight, some of his conclusions border on the absurd (e.g., he blames "Fat Politics" for the impeachment of President Clinton). And so begins the anti-fat backlash.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I read this a few years ago and found it thought-provoking, although it went off on a few weird tangents. I wanted to read it again, so I bought the Kindle edition. Read morePublished 8 months ago by K. Os
At the end of the book, the author lost weight. Will he gain it back? Did he convince himself that prejudice against fat people was worth the effort to lose weight? Read morePublished 17 months ago by Debra A Gonzalez
What a relief to read this book! Some days, it feels like the entire country is trying to lose 100 lbs! I was a "failure to thrive" infant. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Dix88
This is an important book about weight and fat. A scholarly book that takes apart the concept of dieting and obesity. It is a provocative book that should be read.Published 19 months ago by Patricia M.
I just... don't know what to make of this.
The author makes some good points that I agree with. Read more
At last a book that contradicts all the myths about obesity. I can use it to convince other people that obesity is caused not only by overeating and a lack of excercise.Published on June 17, 2013 by Eline M.
Here are my issues with the book:
There isn't anyone out there with any intelligence that doesn't understand that BMI charts are averages for populations and have... Read more
The content of this book is excellent. I don't have enough medical expertise to know if the book is correct or just telling me what I want to hear, but it's very good to know that... Read morePublished on April 22, 2013 by cknauf
I wish I had read this when I was younger. I would not have stressed over weight and done so much damage with dieting. Read morePublished on April 3, 2013 by Joyce E. Jackson