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In recent decades, America has been waging a veritable war on fat in which not just public health authorities, but every sector of society is engaged in constant “fat talk” aimed at educating, badgering, and ridiculing heavy people into shedding pounds. We hear a great deal about the dangers of fatness to the nation, but little about the dangers of today’s epidemic of fat talk to individuals and society at large. The human trauma caused by the war on fat is disturbing—and it is virtually unknown. How do those who do not fit the “ideal” body type feel being the object of abuse, discrimination, and even revulsion? How do people feel being told they are a burden on the healthcare system for having a BMI outside what is deemed—with little solid scientific evidence—“healthy”? How do young people, already prone to self-doubt about their bodies, withstand the daily assault on their body type and sense of self-worth? In Fat-Talk Nation, Susan Greenhalgh tells the story of today’s fight against excess pounds by giving young people, the campaign’s main target, an opportunity to speak about experiences that have long lain hidden in silence and shame. Featuring forty-five autobiographical narratives of personal struggles with diet, weight, “bad BMIs,” and eating disorders, Fat-Talk Nation shows how the war on fat has produced a generation of young people who are obsessed with their bodies and whose most fundamental sense of self comes from their size. It reveals that regardless of their weight, many people feel miserable about their bodies, and almost no one is able to lose weight and keep it off. Greenhalgh argues that attempts to rescue America from obesity-induced national decline are damaging the bodily and emotional health of young people and disrupting families and intimate relationships. Fatness today is not primarily about health, Greenhalgh asserts; more fundamentally, it is about morality and political inclusion/exclusion or citizenship. To unpack the complexity of fat politics today, Greenhalgh introduces a cluster of terms—biocitizen, biomyth, biopedagogy, bioabuse, biocop, and fat personhood—and shows how they work together to produce such deep investments in the attainment of the thin, fit body. These concepts, which constitute a theory of the workings of our biocitizenship culture, offer powerful tools for understanding how obesity has come to remake who we are as a nation, and how we might work to reverse course for the next generation.
A look at how fatness became a cultural stigma in the United States.
Illuminates the wondrous yet disquieting medical realm of organ transplantation by drawing on the voices of those most deeply involved: transplant recipients, clinical specialists, and the surviving kin of deceased organ donors. This ethnographic study explores how these parties think about death, loss, and mourning.
Surveys show that half of American teen-aged girls are dieting and many are at risk from eating disorders. This text examines differences between the black and white subjects interviewed and the issues that mothers face in raising healthy daughters.
In the past decade, obesity has emerged as a major public health concern in the United States and abroad. At the federal, state, and local level, policy makers have begun drafting a range of policies to fight a war against fat, including body-mass index (BMI) report cards, “snack taxes,” and laws to control how fast food companies market to children. As an epidemic, obesity threatens to weaken the health, economy, and might of the most powerful nation in the world. In Killer Fat, Natalie Boero examines how and why obesity emerged as a major public health concern and national obsession in recent years. Using primary sources and in-depth interviews, Boero enters the world of bariatric surgeries, Weight Watchers, and Overeaters Anonymous to show how common expectations of what bodies are supposed to look like help to determine what sorts of interventions and policies are considered urgent in containing this new kind of disease. Boero argues that obesity, like the traditional epidemics of biological contagion and mass death, now incites panic, a doomsday scenario that must be confronted in a struggle for social stability. The “war” on obesity, she concludes, is a form of social control. Killer Fat ultimately offers an alternate framing of the nation’s obesity problem based on the insights of the “Health at Every Size” movement.
From the best-selling author of Why We Get Fat, a groundbreaking, eye-opening exposé that makes the convincing case that sugar is the tobacco of the new millennium: backed by powerful lobbies, entrenched in our lives, and making us very sick. Among Americans, diabetes is more prevalent today than ever; obesity is at epidemic proportions; nearly 10% of children are thought to have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. And sugar is at the root of these, and other, critical society-wide, health-related problems. With his signature command of both science and straight talk, Gary Taubes delves into Americans' history with sugar: its uses as a preservative, as an additive in cigarettes, the contemporary overuse of high-fructose corn syrup. He explains what research has shown about our addiction to sweets. He clarifies the arguments against sugar, corrects misconceptions about the relationship between sugar and weight loss; and provides the perspective necessary to make informed decisions about sugar as individuals and as a society. From the Hardcover edition.
What’s making us fat? And how can we change? Building upon his critical work in Good Calories, Bad Calories and presenting fresh evidence for his claim, bestselling author Gary Taubes revisits these urgent questions. Taubes reveals the bad nutritional science of the last century—none more damaging or misguided than the “calories-in, calories-out” model of why we get fat—and the good science that has been ignored. He also answers the most persistent questions: Why are some people thin and others fat? What roles do exercise and genetics play in our weight? What foods should we eat, and what foods should we avoid? Persuasive, straightforward, and practical, Why We Get Fat is an essential guide to nutrition and weight management. Complete with an easy-to-follow diet. Featuring a new afterword with answers to frequently asked questions. Don't miss Gary Taubes's latest book, The Case Against Sugar, available now.

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