From Publishers Weekly
Popkin, a renowned obesity and nutrition expert, investigates what the World Health Organization has defined as a global obesity epidemic, identifying familiar culprits (nutrient-poor, sugar-rich foods; larger serving sizes and less exercise)—but introduces fresh research to demonstrate how our drinking habits have contributed to the problem. The author follows the expanding waistlines of four families in the United States, Mexico and India to argue that obesity is less a result of gluttony and sloth than a confluence of factors rooted in a fundamental conflict between human biology and modern society, where more calories are consumed than expended, and governments and multinational corporations shape everyday lives (a detailed section traces the growth of modern food and beverage conglomerates). Unfortunately, the book remains a disjointed portrayal of this thesis: Popkin never fully explores the impact of energy drinks and sodas and interrupts his observations of the four families to wax nostalgic (and unscientific) on his youthful dietary and exercise habits in rural Wisconsin. The salience and urgency of the obesity epidemic is incontrovertible, however, and Popkins is a readable and ambitious introduction. (Jan.)
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