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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The global obesity epidemic affects all of us - families, communities, and nations around the world. It's a weighty subject in every way, with dire consequences for well being, life expectancy, and economic productivity in the years ahead unless seriously confronted. The World is Fat
is compelling reading on this complex and growing societal threat. Dr. Barry Popkin is one of the world's most distinguished experts on obesity, the global food system, and nutrition, with extensive first-hand knowledge of the trends in the U.S., Europe, India, China, and beyond. His writing is remarkably clear and concise, free of jargon, and full of wisdom, balance, and good judgment. His call to action and practical suggestions to individuals, communities, and political leaders, will be read with enormous interest and benefit around the world.
Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs
, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, author of The End of Poverty
and Common Wealth
This personal, warmly sympathetic account of the makings of the global obesity crisis is just what is needed to figure out what to do about it. Popkin is an economist, but a humanistic one, and his humanity shines through in this book.
Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat
and Food Politics
, and professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University
The most serious epidemic ever is insidiously engulfing the world. Barry Popkin draws upon his decades of research and experience to describe its originsand a set of potential solutions. Those interested in the future of mankind should read this book.
Walter Willett, author of Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy
, and chair, Department of Nutrition, Harvard University
Popkins research contributions and insights into food and nutrition have inspired scores of scholars. In The World is Fat
, he now inspires parents and consumers about what we can do to help our families and ourselves.
Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think