Big, Fat American Lion Book


A concise, informative look at the problem of obesity and the factors that make it a rapidly growing epidemic.

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A short debut guide presents the common causes, complications, and cultural norms surrounding weight issues.

Without preaching, Boccaletti supplies facts and statistical studies dealing with the causes of obesity and severe weight problems. He aims to reach a general audience with clear, accessible information. From the beginning, the book highlights the importance of instilling healthy habits early, as the author notes that when children consume extra calories, they develop additional fat cells that can never be lost. Adults only shrink and grow the fat cells already existing in the body, making it important to manage weight from an early age. The book covers strategies to keep the body hydrated and the metabolism functioning healthily, such as drinking water and eating nonprocessed foods like cucumbers, spices, and other whole vegetables and fruits. This volume is appropriate for anyone interested in a broad overview of the issues surrounding obesity, including disorders that stem from severe weight gain, like diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. The author provides historical and geographical data, such as the countries of the world with the highest body mass indexes per capita, noting shocking statistics, such as the fact that the United States is 68 percent overweight or obese, compared to 38 percent worldwide. The book doesn’t just deliver facts, but also suggestions that are practical and simple, such as getting outside for a few hours a day to garden or walk, sticking to natural foods, and reducing salt and sugar. But the author reinforces that the most important tool a person possesses for maintaining health is frequent movement. The author, with extensive corporate experience, also highlights the tactics companies use to advertise and lure consumers toward eating large amounts of processed foods. At times, parts of the book are a bit simplistic, such as explanations of how businesses profit from marking up products and remain driven by profit, not human benefit. But the vast majority of the guide supplies well-researched data that a reader can use to understand the impacts and causes of corpulence in the United States and beyond.

A concise, informative look at the problem of obesity and the factors that make it a rapidly growing epidemic.

Pub Date: April 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5197-8883-2

Page Count: 100

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016



Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010


An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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