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What We Can Do About America's Obesity Epidemic?:

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A horrifyingly remarkable 65% of Americans are overweight. Obesity now surpasses smoking in health-care costs and impact on chronic illness and is on the rise in almost every country in the world. America, as well as the rest of the world, is eating itself to death. In her book Food Fight, Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D. reveals both the roots of this problem and offers solutions to remedy it. Along with coauthor Katherine Battle Horgen, Ph.D., he traces the link between public indifference and corporate opportunism that, in a few decades, has produced a "toxic environment" abundant with tasty but unhealthy temptations.

An interesting argument introduced in the book is that of the role of evolution in the world's "obesity epidemic." Thousands of years of evolution have made humans, like many other animals, into beings that seek out high-energy yielding food sources, such as fats and carbohydrates. Food has become cheap and can be found almost anywhere and most of it has been engineered with fat, sugar, and flavors to indulge our biological urges. A study done with Rabelaisian rats showed that, when presented with fats and carbohydrates, lab rats abandoned their previously balanced, healthy diet for one of dangerous excess. This led to the insulting conclusion that Brownell put forth, likening the intelligence of humans to that of "greedy rodents." With a zeal they are unlikely to show at the dinner table, the authors bombard their readers with data purporting to show that roughly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, products of a feeding frenzy that is dangerous medically and drives up health-care costs by tens of billions of dollars. Over the past couple of decades, Americans have indeed gained weight. The mere fact of being too fat can cause problems such as arthritis and a range of other, sometimes serious, diseases. Despite this, the authors argue, corpulence should be seen as a symptom of ill health as much as a cause: Being fat won't necessarily kill you, but the sloth and the gluttony that got you there will. The authors do cite research showing that overweight people who are fit are at lower risk than people who are not overweight and are unfit. Still, they tend to concentrate on obesity as a problem in its own right and, ironically, that's something that may be counterproductive. Brainwashed by standardized notions of an ideal weight, Americans spend an estimated $40 billion a year in the generally unsuccessful pursuit of one miracle diet or another. The result is "see-sawing" weight, which is often less healthful than having a few too many pounds. There is much said against the "glorification of candy" and anguish is expressed over restaurants "notorious" for their large portions. Combined with the American mindset of spending less and receiving more, this is dangerous. A healthy, but relatively expensive, diet will disenfranchise a consumer; a less healthy, but cheaper, diet will attract him/her. At its core this book rests on the belief that people cannot be trusted to do what is best for their health;



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