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The Fattening of America:
How the Economy Makes Us Fat, If It Matters, and What to Do About It

by Eric A. Finkelstein and Laurie Zuckerman

      Author and health economist Eric Finkelstein and coauthor Laurie Zuckerman, former PR professional and business writer, posit that economics and technology are as much to blame for America’s obesity as other causes more readily brought to mind, such as genetics and food industry marketing. Calling this sociological event the ObesEconomy, the authors say obesity has spawned a lucrative market for new products and services. Further, until economic incentives are instituted that encourage individuals to make right health choices, there is little hope of stemming the obesity epidemic.   

The Fattening of America: How the Economy Makes Us Fat, If It Matters, and What to Do About It by Finkelstein and Zuckerman uses theory, research, and humor to explore the various factors commonly blamed for obesity in adults and children. Some chapter titles are: "I’ll Take a Deep-fried Coca-Cola," "So We’re Fat - Who Cares?" and "How to Lose Weight Like an Economist." (Who knew economists could be funny?) Further, the authors suggest economic strategies to rein in obesity - such as making it cheaper and easier to be thin, rather than fat. What a concept, huh? 

This is not a book that condemns obese persons, but the authors do "believe the vast majority of overweight people could weigh less than they currently do if the environment were more conducive to weight loss." Finkelstein admits he’s an obsessive dad and soccer coach (his team gets water and oranges after a game), and is willing to be unpopular to do what’s best for the kids’ health. Though examined from an economic standpoint (and, yes, there are charts and statistics), The Fattening of America is conversational, understandable, and warmly inviting. It is an easy, enjoyable read. Take it home. Check it out. Live healthy.

The Book

John Wiley & Sons
January 9, 2008
0-47-012466-0 / 978-0-47012466-6
Health / Health Economics
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The Reviewer

Deb Kincaid
Reviewed 2008
© 2008