THE FAT OF THE LAND by Michael Fumento


The Obesity Epidemic and How Overweight Americans Can Help Themselves
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 ``The very act of living in the United States puts you at great risk for obesity,'' warns science writer Fumento in this harangue with a clear message: The fault, dear fatties, lies in overconsumption and underexertion. The formerly fat but now happily and proudly trim Fumento (Science Under Siege, 1992; The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS, 1990) charges that the current craze for low-fat but not-so-low-calorie processed foods is giving consumers bigger waistlines while making megabucks for the food industry. The other profit-makers he pillories, with words like ``huckster'' and ``sham,'' are the writers (and publishers) of diet books, such as Susan Powter for Stop the Insanity and Cliff Sheats for Lean Bodies. He has some strong words for the tactics of Nutri/System and Jenny Craig, too, but it is the National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance that really ticks him off. It is time for an attitude adjustment, he argues, calling for society to return to the values of moderation and setting limits. He'd like to see an anti-obesity campaign along the lines of the anti-smoking campaign that made puffing on cigarettes appear gauche, and he urges activists to enlist the food companies in a campaign against overeating just as they engaged beer makers in campaigns against underage drinking and, further, to pressure fast-food restaurants to reduce the size of their fat-laden portions. Having advised society of its duties, Fumento, whose attempts at humor do little to lighten this lecture, instructs individuals to eat the right foods, i.e., high in fiber and low in caloric density; eat only when hungry; and get a reasonable amount of exercise. A sermon on gluttony and sloth and a jeremiad against those who aid, abet, and profit from these sins. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-670-87059-5
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1997