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Fat Politics: The Real Story behind America’s Obesity Epidemic

It seems almost daily we read newspaper articles and watch news reports exposing the growing epidemic of obesity in America. Our government tells us we are experiencing a major health crisis, with sixty percent of Americans classified as overweight, and one in four as obese. But how valid are these claims? In Fat Politics, J. Eric Oliver shows how a handful of doctors, government bureaucrats, and health researchers, with financial backing from the drug and weight-loss industries, have campaigned to create standards that mislead the public. They mislabel more than sixty million Americans as “overweight,” inflate the health risks of being fat, and promote the idea that obesity is a killer disease.
In reviewing the scientific evidence, Oliver shows there is little proof that obesity causes so much disease and death or that losing weight is what makes people healthier. Our concern with obesity, he writes, is fueled more by social prejudice, bureaucratic politics, and industry profit than by scientific fact. Misinformation pushes millions of Americans towards dangerous surgeries, crash diets, and harmful diet drugs, while we ignore other, more real health problems. Oliver goes on to examine why it is that Americans despise fatness and explores why, despite this revulsion, we continue to gain weight.
Fat Politics will topple your most basic assumptions about obesity and health. It is essential reading for anyone with a stake in the nation’s–or their own–good health.

Rating: (out of 13 reviews)

List Price: $ 19.99
Price: $ 12.06

Fat Politics: The Real Story behind America’s Obesity Epidemic Reviews

Review by P. Lozar:

This is a book that should be read by everyone with a “weight problem.” Oliver does a terrific job of showing how the so-called obesity epidemic has little to do with genuine health concerns. Instead, not surprisingly, it’s all about money: drug manufacturers who finance “obesity institutes” that hype the dangers of overweight to sell diet drugs; diet and exercise companies with a vested interest in convincing people that their excess pounds are hazardous to their health; bariatric surgeons who want your insurance money; researchers who find that focusing on the dangers of obesity greatly improves their chances of getting grant money and publishing their findings.

Oliver isn’t saying that it’s OK to weigh 400 lbs; instead, he points out that (except in the most extreme cases) the dangers of overweight and the benefits of losing weight are greatly exaggerated — in fact, trying to lose weight can be more harmful to one’s health than staying fat, and very thin people are often far less healthy than fat people. Numerous studies (which he cites in detail) have disproved the conventional wisdom, but these are routinely ignored or misinterpreted. He also points out that the main reason that the incidence of obesity has increased in America is not that Americans have gained a lot of weight, but rather that the threshold for classifying someone as “obese” has been lowered (duh!).

Oliver’s most noteworthy point, I think, is this: excess weight is not the problem, it’s a symptom. The real culprits in “weight-linked” diseases aren’t the pounds themselves, but the behaviors and conditions associated with them. Fat people who exercise are healthier than thin people who don’t; following a healthy diet is beneficial even if it doesn’t lead to weight loss; and many conditions (such as insulin resistance) are likelier to be the cause of excess weight, rather than the other way around.

From my own experience, I can confirm Oliver’s contention that doctors’ obsession with weight loss as a cure-all often diverts them from dealing with the real problem. High blood pressure runs in my family, and afflicts both fat and thin people; but the same doctors who prescribed medication for my thin relatives told me that ALL I had to do was lose weight and my blood pressure would go down. After 30 years (!), during which my weight was all over the map while my blood pressure steadily climbed, I finally found a doctor who listened to reason, and I’ve kept my blood pressure under control ever since with medication. (Footnote: A few years later, I lost 40 lbs — and my blood pressure didn’t budge.)

Being a political scientist and a statistician, Oliver also offers his conclusions about the social implications of fat, which I found interesting but not always convincing (his argument for why thinness is valued in white women seemed rather circular to me). The chief value of the book, I think, is that he’s done an excellent job of amassing the medical and statistical data, and showing that many of our assumptions about obesity are based on myth rather than fact.

Review by A Fan:

I really enjoyed this book and unlike the guy below, I’m not selling a diet plan. In fact, the only people I can see not liking this book are people trying to sell weight loss products. For the rest of us, Oliver’s book is a very readable and really fascinating explanation for how weight gain has come to be called an “obesity epidemic” (and how they are different).

The book systematically goes through the evidence (but in a highly readable way) about how the idea of obesity came to be defined and how the idea that obesity was a disease became popularized (largely from a small group of weight loss doctors, diet hucksters, and bureaucrats).

Not only does he reveal the people who have been behind the scenes and promoting the idea that America’s weight gain is an epidemic disease, he goes beyond this and describes why we hate fat people, why white women are expected to be thin, and most interesting why Americans are gaining weight and what this weight gain means.

Some interesting things that I learned from this book were 1) ceteris paribus, white women are twice as likely to be told be their doctor that they are overweight; 2) taxing junk food is only likely to make people eat worse; 3) the main reason why Americans gaining weight is not from super-size meals but from snacking; 4) the biggest source of the obesity epidemic is a powerpoint presentation; 5) the origins of the idea of obesity came from an astronomer.

I was not surprised to see that Steve Levitt, author of Freakonomics, said he “loved” this book on the back cover. Its the same kind of interesting and counterintuitive logic.

Buy Fat Politics: The Real Story behind America’s Obesity Epidemic now for only $ 12.06!

Handbook of Obesity Treatment

The contemporary successor to the editors’ earlier Obesity: Theory and Therapy, this comprehensive handbook guides mental health, medical, and allied health professionals through the process of planning and delivering individualized treatment services for those seeking help for obesity. Concise, extensively referenced chapters present foundational knowledge and review the full range of widely used interventions, including self-help, behavioral, and cognitive-behavioral approaches; pharmacotherapy; and surgery. Provided are state-of-the-art guidelines for assessing obese individuals for health risks and for mood and eating disorders; treatment algorithms for tailoring interventions to the severity of the client’s problem; details on adjunctive interventions for improving body image and self-esteem; recommendations for working with child clients; and much more.

  • ISBN13: 9781593850944
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Rating: (out of 1 reviews)

List Price: $ 50.00
Price: $ 35.00

Handbook of Obesity Treatment Reviews

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The Obesity Epidemic: Science, Morality and Ideology

Increasing obesity levels are currently big news but do we think carefully enough about what this trend actually means? Everybody – including doctors, parents, teachers, sports clubs, businesses and governments – has a role to play in the ‘war on obesity’. But is talk of an obesity ‘crisis’ justified? Is it the product of measured scientific reasoning or age-old ‘habits of mind’? Why is it happening now? And are there potential risks associated with talking about obesity as an ‘epidemic’? The Obesity Epidemic proposes that obesity science and the popular media present a complex mix of ambiguous knowledge, familiar (yet unstated) moral agendas and ideological assumptions.

Rating: (out of 5 reviews)

List Price: $ 52.95
Price: $ 38.76

The Obesity Epidemic: Science, Morality and Ideology Reviews

Review by D. P. Birkett:

A sceptical look, by two Australians, at what we know and

(more especially) at what we don’t know, about obesity. The authors believe “It ain’t what folks don’t know is the problem so much as what they think they know that ain’t so.” The central message could be phrased as that fatness doesn’t matter as much as they try to make you think, but that would be oversimplifying it. There’s nothing simple about this book. I started it thinking I knew a lot more about obesity than when I finished it.

The authors write elegantly with sharp wit, but even so it is rather heavy going because of the density of information and closely reasoned argument. Although it is an important book it it difficult to know who to recommend it too, maybe anybody in the health or education field who enjoys good writing and doesn’t mind having their assumptions shaken.. It’s not a self-help book for dieters.

The Australian perspective is interesting. Americans are still reeling from finding they are the world’s fattest men (apart from some Pacific islanders) and the British are upset from finding that they are the least athletic white nation, with curling as their only Olympic gold. The skinny athletic Australians have managed to convince themselves that they are slothful overeaters

Review by JoAnne Dauphinee:

This book takes a look at a variety of obesity research with a fresh eye. It assumes nothing, and what is revealed with this unbiased eye will surprise and amaze most readers. As many know, diets don’t work. This helps explain why. Fat people aren’t fat due to gluttony. Exercise, while it may be good for people of all sizes, does not contribute much to body size except in extreme cases. Twin studies and meta-analyses are methodically reviewed. Much of what passes for facts or science in the public debate on obesity, is really more about morality and ideology. Well done!

Buy The Obesity Epidemic: Science, Morality and Ideology now for only $ 38.76!

The Evolution of Obesity

In this sweeping exploration of the relatively recent obesity epidemic, Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin probe evolutionary biology, history, physiology, and medical science to uncover the causes of our growing girth. The unexpected answer? Our own evolutionary success.For most of the past few million years, our evolutionary ancestors’ survival depended on being able to consume as much as possible when food was available and to store the excess energy for periods when it was scarce. In the developed world today, high-calorie foods are readily obtainable, yet the propensity to store fat is part of our species’ heritage, leaving an increasing number of the world’s people vulnerable to obesity. In an environment of abundant food, we are anatomically, physiologically, metabolically, and behaviorally programmed in a way that makes it difficult for us to avoid gaining weight.Power and Schulkin’s engagingly argued book draws on popular examples and sound science to explain our expanding waistlines and to discuss the consequences of being overweight for different demographic groups. They review the various studies of human and animal fat use and storage, including those that examine fat deposition and metabolism in men and women; chronicle cultural differences in food procurement, preparation, and consumption; and consider the influence of sedentary occupations and lifestyles.A compelling and comprehensive examination of the causes and consequences of the obesity epidemic, The Evolution of Obesity offers fascinating insights into the question, Why are we getting fatter?

List Price: $ 40.00
Price: $ 21.68

Killer at Large

Obesity rates in the United States have skyrocketed over the last twenty years, with no end in sight provoking former Surgeon General, Richard Carmona to state that “obesity is a terror within. It is destroying our society from within and unless we do something about it, the magnitude of the dilemma will dwarf 9/11 or any other terrorist event that you can point out…”

As this epidemic of obesity reaches out into even the most remote corners of the globe, only one thing seems clear, the issue is more complex than you could ever imagine.

Seeking to trace the problem to it’s root, we find ourselves in the African Savannah 4 million years ago where we discover how our hunter gatherer ancestry, when mixed in with our modern environment of convenience, stress and abundance has led us to become the most obese generation in the history of the world. Perhaps an even more sobering fact is that we’re the first modern society to raise a generation of children with a projected life expectancy that is shorter than that of their parents.

One of the film’s most compelling characters is found in Brooke Bates, who after struggling with her weight for all her young life, resorted to liposuction and a tummy tuck at age 12 (all caught on camera). Where the media blitz around the surgery focused on her age and questioning her parents judgment, our documentary camera’s dug deeper between the lines to address the confluence of emotional and environmental factors which lead Brooke and so many other young people down a contentious path of food addiction and self loathing.

Beyond the shocking medical statistics and newspaper headlines that one would expect, Killer at Large also examines the ethical and moral implications of the obesity epidemic with leaders of several world

  • Obesity is fast becoming the single greatest killer of Americans, causing some experts to claim that we are on the cusp of an evolutionary disaster. Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona says, “obesity is a terror within; it’s destroying our society from within and unless we do something about it, the magnitude of the dilemma will dwarf 9/11 or any other terrorist event that you can point

Rating: (out of 10 reviews)

List Price: $ 19.95
Price: $ 9.99

Killer at Large Reviews

Review by Matthew G. Sherwin:

Killer At Large is a very good documentary that explores the obesity epidemic and the major causes of obesity along with the politics, social issues and even the health problems caused by obesity. The film progresses at a very good pace and I was never bored; the people interviewed gave insightful comments that were very relevant and we get both sides of the story although admittedly the film focuses on the people who support the viewpoints of the filmmakers. The quality of the print is very good, too.

We see practically everything on this topic; this film is well done indeed. For example, the footage of former US Surgeon General Richard Carmona shows him telling audiences that “obesity is the terror within; and unless we do something about it, the magnitude of the dilemma will dwarf 9/11 or any other terrorist event you can point out to me.” Wow, what a statement! But the facts are there to support his claims: we are inundated with medical statistics and testimony from people from all walks of life that obesity is a fantastically serious problem that merits our immediate attention. Indeed, the film begins with us meeting a twelve year old girl, Brooke Bates, who has not been able to control her weight. Her parents willingly sign her up for liposuction despite her tender age! Yes, the liposuction procedure and an additional tummy tuck work wonders for her while she exercises–until, that is, she regains the weight that she lost; and by the end of the film we learn that she’s going with her parents for an even more invasive procedure even though she’s still only thirteen!

And it isn’t just Brooke Bates. Bill Clinton goes on record as saying that obesity is a killer; and he’s right. We get great comments from Dr. Linda Kinsinger who is the Director of The VA National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention that “71% of our veterans are overweight or obese;” and people like Ralph Nader and Neil LaBute (film director and author of the book entitled “Fat Pig”) all share their stories about the horrors of people practically eating their way into the grave. Meme Roth of National Action Against Obesity also has plenty to say on this topic and the issues surrounding it.

But there’s so much more in this film. The film show how junk food companies kiss up to members of Congress and others to get their vending machines distributed practically everywhere we look; this means that we can’t go too far without seeing a cue that we should be eating or drinking some very calorie-rich food. Companies like Frito Lay and McDonalds can buy their ways into everyone’s home; their commercials are designed to look like regular Saturday morning cartoons and this takes advantage of the fact that very young kids under the age of eight typically cannot distinguish between commercials and regular television programming. The commercials lead young kids to believe that if they eat at McDonalds everything they will live happily ever after! In addition, I love the part in the film when one mother complains to a panel of representatives from fast food companies that their commercials are undermining her ability to teach her children to eat healthy food and to stay away from junk food. We also get comments by a school lunch worker who says that the quality of lunches is so poor because of the way the federal government reimburses schools for their lunch programs–the school must give a certain minimum of calories to each student; and if they gave a healthy lunch they wouldn’t meet the calorie minimum requirement and thus they would lose their lunch program funding!

There’s actually much more in this film so if you think I’ve given it all away and spoiled it for you I can happily assure you that this is not the case. The DVD also comes with extras; I liked the deleted scenes in particular. There is even an abridged version for educational purposes in the classroom; but hopefully teachers can show the complete version to school kids as soon as they’re able to follow along.

The only thing I didn’t care for is that the film doesn’t focus enough on the incredible self-discipline that it really, really takes to lose weight. In many cases (but certainly not all) there simply isn’t any excuse or alternative for losing weight–you need to exercise more and eat smaller amounts of food that is very healthy for you. In the past whenever I have been overweight, as I am now, this has been the only method I ever tried that worked for me when I wanted to become thinner. In addition, they show George W. Bush encouraging exercise but they do it in a way that seems to mock him and belittle his sincerity. While I was not sorry to see Mr. Bush leave office several months ago, I don’t see why they should mock him for encouraging people to exercise. Otherwise this is a very good film.

Killer at Large does a fine job of exploring the serious epidemic of obesity and the terrible health problems that result from many, many people being way too overweight. I recommend this film for people studying the obesity epidemic; this film should be mandatory viewing for school kids once they are old enough to learn from it. Moreover, people who are overweight like me should watch this film and perhaps gain enough strength from it to be brave and do something constructive about losing weight.

Review by Robert Belley:

Bar none, an eye opening look, shocking really, at what are youth are up against. Thankfully we can help though. We can control our destiny by making better food choice for our children.

Please watch this movie, rent it, buy it, borrow it.

You will help change the course of our present future.


Robert Belley, BSc, CPT, YCS, YFS




Host/Creator, Belley Fitness TV Show

Host/Fitness Expert, Your Action Potential Webcast

Fitness Advisory Board Member, Maximum Fitness magazine

Writer/Contributor. Men’s Fitness magazine

Buy Killer at Large now for only $ 9.99!

Eating Disorders and Obesity, Second Edition: A Comprehensive Handbook

This unique handbook presents and integrates virtually all that is currently known about eating disorders and obesity in one authoritative, accessible, and eminently practical volume. From leading international authorities, 112 concise chapters encapsulate the latest information on all pertinent topics, from biological, psychological, and social processes associated with risk, to clinical methods for assessment and intervention. The contents are organized to highlight areas of overlap between lines of research that often remain disparate. Suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter replace extended references and enhance the practical value and readability of the volume.

Rating: (out of 1 reviews)

List Price: $ 45.00
Price: $ 38.89

Eating Disorders and Obesity, Second Edition: A Comprehensive Handbook Reviews

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Obesity Epidemiology

During the past twenty years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. An estimated thirty percent of adults in the US are obese; in 1980, only fifteen percent were. The issue is gaining greater attention with the CDC and with the public health world in general. This book will offer practical information about the methodology of epidemiologic studies of obesity, suitable for graduate students and researchers in epidemiology, and public health practitioners with an interest in the issue.

The book will be structured in four main sections, with the majority of chapters authored by Dr. Hu, and some authored by specialists in specific areas. The first section will consider issues surrounding the definition of obesity, measurement techniques, and the designs of epidemiologic studies. The second section will address the consequences of obesity, looking at epidemiologic studies that focus on cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, and cancer The third section will look at determinants obesity, reviewing a wide range of risk factors for obesity including diet, physical activity and sedentary behaviors, sleep disorders, psychosocial factors, physical environment, biochemical and genetic predictors, and intrauterine exposures. In the final section, the author will discuss the analytical issues and challenges for epidemiologic studies of obesity.

Rating: (out of 1 reviews)

List Price: $ 59.99
Price: $ 45.00

Obesity Epidemiology Reviews

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Relacore- Stress-Related Abdominal Obesity Supplement,110 caps

Do you have excess “tummy flab”?
Is your belly bigger then you like?

If so then Relacore is just what you need!

Excess tummy flab is not your fault… That’s the startling conclusion reached by scientists who discovered the likely cause of stubborn belly fat. But instead of simply identifying the problem… this time, they may have found the solution!

Take the Metabolic Syndrome Test:

Does everyday life make you stressed out and anxious?
Are you accumulating belly fat that you just can’t get rid of?
Do you binge eat in response to daily stress?
Do you have high triglycerides (the bad cholesterol)?
Are you sensitive to refined sugar?
Have you tried diet after diet without long term success?
According to government researchers, the link between stress, tension, and belly fat is clear. It’s called Metabolic Syndrome – a figure destroying, health threatening problem resulting in increased belly fat associated with high levels of cortisol – a nasty little stress hormone that causes pound after pound of excess body fat to accumulate around the waist and on your tummy.

  • Stress Reducer
  • Mood Enhancer
  • Helps Pervent Stress-related adominal fat
  • Helps Balance Hormone Levels
  • Prevents Over-heating

Rating: (out of 39 reviews)

List Price: $ 49.95
Price: $ 17.99

Relacore- Stress-Related Abdominal Obesity Supplement,110 caps Reviews

Review by K. Lord:

I started taking Relacore because most of my weight gain was in my belly. After taking the product for a week I was starting to get discouraged but I did notice I was feeling calmer. By the end of the second week my husband had noticed that my stomach was going away. After 4 weeks I had lost almost 4 inches on my waist and 6 pounds! It is now 2 months and I have gone from a size 10 to a size 6.

I would never have believed this if it did not happen to me. While on vacation with my best friend she asked what I was doing and I told her. She bought a bottle to try. She kept saying it wasn’t working but after 2 weeks she had lost 3 pounds and 2 inches on her waist.

There are very few products that deliver what they claim but this one does it. Don’t give up after a week. Just keep taking it for the month and you will see for yourself.

Review by Jacques G. Provost:

I’ve been trying many different products to control my chronic stress and related high Cortisol levels. I’m not interested in loosing belly fat/inches because I don’t have any. I’ve been disappointed by all the products I’ve tried because they all contain stimulants [caffeine, guarana, epeherine or their derivatives...] and that drives me up the wall and prevents me from sleeping. I tried Relacore because it contains vitamins that are directly related to stress management [vitB] by acting on the adrenal glands. Also the formula contains herbs that calm the nervous system. I just finished my first bottle and I noticed in the last month that I was calmer, I slept much better, my appetite and digestion are working very well, my energy is much improved [without any over-stimulation] and a lot of anxiety and tension has left my body… I couldn’t ask for more… Thank you!

Buy Relacore- Stress-Related Abdominal Obesity Supplement,110 caps now for only $ 17.99!

Understanding Obesity: The Five Medical Causes (Your Personal Health)

Consumer text aims to empower the reader to deal with the real causes of obesity. Covers underlying conditions, such as mood disorders, chronic tiredness, chronic pain, chronic gastrointestinal discomfort, or binge eating disorder. Softcover.

Rating: (out of 6 reviews)

List Price: $ 14.95
Price: $ 0.61

Understanding Obesity: The Five Medical Causes (Your Personal Health) Reviews

Review by Claudia Maheux:

All doctors should read this book. Dr Levy explains the real reasons why people overeat & offers a variety of ways doctors can assist people to lose weight & keep it off. His perceptions & sensitivity to the problems that the obese face when attempting to lose weight are a rare find. The best book on the subject, bar none.

Review by Dr. Richard G. Petty:

This is not a long book, but it is full of good advice that should really be given to anyone who has – or thinks that they have – a weight issue.

Dr Levy’s emphasis on an individualized approach is just what we have also been doing for almost three decades, and it is demonstrably superior to the “One size fits all” approach. We are all biochemically, metabolically and psychologically different, and the systems involved in the maintenance of weight are amongst the most complex in the body.

I also like the way in which he integrates endocrinological and psychological approaches into his program. To ignore those is not just disrespectful, but terribly inefficient. Many factors can lead people to have problems with weight management.

One surprise about the book is that the subtitle is “The Five Medical Causes,” yet it was difficult to find them! He cites a great many medical causes, and they are all correct!

I would also like to have seen some discussion about the use of the subtle systems of the body and the tremendous value of bringing a transpersonal perspective to bear on weight management. But then I suppose that he wouldn’t have left me anything to write about!

Buy Understanding Obesity: The Five Medical Causes (Your Personal Health) now for only $ 0.61!

Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Obesity: A Clinician’s Guide

The first cognitive-behavioral treatment manual for obesity, this volume presents an innovative therapeutic model currently being evaluated in controlled research at Oxford University. From leading clinical researchers, the approach is specifically designed to overcome a major weakness of existing therapies: posttreatment weight regain. The book details powerful ways to help patients not only to achieve weight loss, but also to modify the problematic cognitions that undermine long-term weight control. Drawing on strategies proven effective with such problems as binge eating, the manual contains everything needed to implement the treatment: intervention guidelines, case examples, and reproducible handouts and forms.

Rating: (out of 2 reviews)

List Price: $ 30.00
Price: $ 25.38

Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Obesity: A Clinician’s Guide Reviews

Review by Oscar A. Pacheco:

As a pediatrician involved with the problem of obesity (and finishing my specialization on the issue), I found that this book came as a possible solution to my concerns. It adresses every necessary steps in managing obese patients in a concise form and approaches important questions as body image, traps to avoid, long-term maintenance of weight (the most important point of treatment, emphasized by the authors), etc. All without drugs, which is a differential in this kind of treatment. And thoug the book doesn’t mention treatment in pediatric patients, many of their lessons would apply for this age group (or, at least, the adolescents). There’s only one weak point: in the beginning of the book, patients are instructed to count calories meticulously (they are even compelled to buy a kitchen scale). Afterwards, they are supposed to “forget the obsession” with the same calories! (almost like teaching a child to ride a bike and then taking it away for her for good). Even so, I think that it’s a worthy piece.

Buy Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Obesity: A Clinician’s Guide now for only $ 25.38!

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