- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (August 7, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0071402500
- ISBN-13: 978-0071402507
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,549,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Food Fight The Inside Story of the Food Industry, America's Obesity Crisis, and What We Can Do About It Hardcover – August 7, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
The war against obesity must go beyond personal responsibility and will power to encompass a Gandhian mass movement against a food industry and a social order intent on fattening us, argues this fact-filled but ferocious manifesto. The authors, academics with the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders, contend that our abundant, super-sized meals and our modern, sedentary lifestyles have formed a "toxic environment" that indulges our genetic fat-storage proclivities to a pathological degree. The result is an "epidemic" of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and low self-esteem. Brownell and Horgen blame these side effects on a car-centric culture that has virtually criminalized walking (27% of adult Americans, they report, get "no physical activity at all") while parking kids in front of television, video games and computers and eliminating gym classes from cash-strapped schools. But the worst villain of the book is the politically powerful food industry, which, the authors say, plies us with cheap fat and sugar while keeping healthier foods scarce and expensive, bribes schools to sell children soft drinks, and bombards children with junk-food ads from the moment they leave the womb. The authors recast the usual diet-and-exercise discourse in the rhetoric of social justice, calling for a grass-roots mobilization to fight Big Food, a "national strategic plan," and specific measures like junk-food taxes and banning ads that target children. Libertarians may consider this the worst kind of victimology. But the evergreen subject of American gluttony and sloth brings out the best in scientist-advocates, and the authors, while drawing on a mountain of statistics and studies, make their indictment both funny and appalling.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"'Food Fight' serves plenty of food for thought." -- Newark Star Ledger, September 10, 2003
"... a man the food industry loves to hate... arguably the nation's leading authority on how food environment affects waistlines." -- USA Today, August 20, 2003
"This is a fascinating, empowering book must-read filled with practical ways to take action" -- Shape Magazine, October 2003
Top customer reviews
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If you have ever wondered how the food industry markets their products, you will find this very interesting. Food Fight gets into the studies that have been done and the processes the food industry goes through to attracts its target audience. Mostly this book focuses on children as the target audience. Both through tv and product packaging. Food Fight also shows what can be done to put a halt to children being the target of unhealthy foods as well as what can be done to get healthier foods into the schools.
This is a very good book. It would be very good for someone to read who is in a place of power to be able to implement the actions that are talked about in this book. Just be prepared for a long read. Because this book really is. But I did find it to be very informative. And it gave me lots of ideas on food health that I can practice in my own home.
This book is extremely well-referenced, drawing on scientific articles, popular journalism and books like Fast Food Nation. Brownell and Horgen reveal the huge scope of America's problem with weight and tell how the problem is spreading all over the world. They show how the food industry has penetrated schools, government agencies, and entertainment media to market sugary, fatty foods to adults and children.
Brownell is especially concerned about children, who lack the power to defend themselves against food advertising and easily available sweets. He demolishes the "personal responsibility" argument used by the calorie pushers. How can children be expected to say "no" to food that tastes good, is readily available in their schools and communities, is recommended by their favorite media characters or sports stars, and which nobody is warning them against?
The authors give dozens of suggestions for social changes that could increase physical activity (ex. bike paths), reduce soft drink consumption (ex a small tax that would go to fund nutrition education and provision of healthy school lunches), and make healthy food more available (a problem for a very large number of people in America.) They also have lots of good suggestions for political activism.
What "Food Fight" does not include is strategies for individuals and families to protect themselves and live healthier lives. That's not what the book is about - it's about the politics of food, and how we can change the environment so that healthy living becomes easier.
The writing style is clear, although not especially entertaining. But there is some humor, such as a subheading on the huge size of restaurant portions: "Nelson, party of four: your muffin is ready."
Food Fight is a political manifesto by a crusader who has already been attacked repeatedly by the food industry. He makes a strong case, one I will use in my upcoming book, "The Politics of Diabetes." I encourage readers to support Dr. Brownell and Horgen's cause.
David Spero RN, author of The Art of Getting Well: Maximizing Health When You Have a Chronic Illness (Hunter House 2002) [...]
While the authors back up their argument with authoritative research, statistics and analysis, I was most struck by some of the details they reported: baby bottles with soft-drink logos, Ronald McDonald's 100% recognition rate among American children, the 70% of eight-year-olds who rate fast foods as healthier than home cooking, the fact that feeding a family with healthy food costs 50% more than with junk food, that many "servings" are up to seven times larger than those the USDA statistics on fat, carbohydrates and calories are based on, and, as has been widely reported, the projection that the current generation of overfed, under-exercised, diabetes-and-heart-disease-prone children may be the first in recent history to live shorter lives than their parents and grandparents.
We Americans are used to tackling challenges and problems individually. In many cases, that's a great quality. But when an entire generation is being supersized, with enormous impacts on health and well-being, we need a different approach. Brownell and Horgen spend the last third of the book developing a coherent, thoughtful and much-needed societal approach to the obesity epidemic.
If you want to understand why this public-health epidemic has burgeoned now, and what we as a society can do about it, _Food Fight_ is the place to start.
Robert Adler, Ph.D., author of _Medical Firsts: From Hippocrates to the Human Genome (John Wiley & Sons, March 2004).