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summary ´ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ´ Natalie Boero

Killer FatIn 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 na. Great writing on an important issue Boero is one of those thought train leaders who I hope are driving us into a paradigm shift about body size

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Tion in the worldIn 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. Fascinating but problematicWhat is fascinating about this book is the vivid and detailed information that San Jose State University sociology Associate Professor Natalie Boero provides about what it’s like to be fat Especially interesting is her experience with Weight Watchers and Overeaters Anonymous in Chapter 3 She went to their meetings and conducted interviews She analyzed and reported on the various degrees of success and failure experienced by clients She compared and contrasted the two approaches and exposed the underlying assumptions In short Weight Watchers uses a diet based point counting formula while Overeaters Anonymous follows the Alcoholic Anonymous approachBoero labels their differing approaches respectively as the “normative pathology model” and the “uniue disease model” She thinks that Weight Watchers see women as “emotional eatersprone to excess” In the Overeaters Anonymous mindset obesity is a “chronic and incurable disease” best treated with a 12 step social programAlso fascinating was Chapter 4 in which Boero looks into bariatric surgery and finds it wanting justification She makes a strong case by showing that even after surgery many people were still obese and others became obese again Even the successful clients were not home free since they had to maintain a strict diet lest they extend their stomachs making it likely that they would gain back the weight they lost She argues that it is a serious uestion about whether “gastric bypass is akin to a surgically enforced eating disorder than it is to a surgical cure for obesity” p 121I think the book would have reached readers if Boero had begun with these chapters since they are eye opening and interesting Chapter 1 which is mostly about the politics of obesity associated with the US Department of Health and Human Services’ “Healthy People” publication is so heavily ualified and painstakingly wrought that it’s annoying to read Nonetheless she makes a good point when she argues that “moral entrepreneurs” have framed the rise in the average weight of Americans as an epidemic so that they might benefit financially by providing treatments I have no doubt that this is correctChapter 2 which is on the media’s bias against fat people was less than enthralling and not entirely convincing While there certainly is a bias in favor of the thin and beautiful in the media that is not necessarily the media’s fault People in general prefer to see and hear about the thin and beautiful Blaming the media for the bias of those who consume media isn’t entirely fairBut what I found problematic is that Boero concentrates on the political and sociological aspects of the “epidemic” so intensely that she fails to acknowledge the real public health problem She focuses on how unfair it is to denigrate people especially women for being fat seemingly without realizing that the health risks that come from carrying around all those extra pounds are real and need to be addressedI also didn’t care for her designation of the public health problem as a “postmodern epidemic” fueled by “moral panic” and “chaos” It’s a theme that she repeats over and over again throughout the book A postmodern epidemic as I came to understand by reading this book is a socially constructed epidemic and its cure is not medical but social For Boero that cure comes in the form of the Health at Every Size movement whose principles include “Accepting and respecting the diversity of body shapes and sizes”It’s hard to argue with that except for the fact that overweight and obese people in the vast majority of cases are at greater risk from a variety of health problems including diabetes heart attacks and cancer than are those whose weight is closer to the norm This has been overwhelmingly documented in hundreds of studies and in the actuary tables kept by insurance companies The fact that SOME people can weigh than what is considered normal does not change the truth that carrying too much fat is dangerous to your health and by the way limits your lifestyle choicesWhen she criticizes the media for not giving exposure to the minority of scientists who think being overweight is okay or at least not that big a problem she reminds me of climate change deniers On page 98 she even takes a stab at “conventional scientific wisdom” making me wonder how unconventional scientific wisdom might stack up Again the fact that SOME authorities deny the health risks of being fat doesn’t change the realityBut Boero tries She writes “at its most basic level the obesity epidemic is about women” p 55 The fact that women often than men try to lose weight according to Boero 80% of bariatric patients are women doesn’t alter the fact that the public concern about obesity is about healthAnd if it isn’t about women it’s about attitude She reports p 101 that what the “size acceptance community” wants to do is not so much help people lose weight but to work to “change a fat phobic society” In short Boero seems to dislike the idea that people are personally responsible for being fat She sees poverty and prejudices against minorities and other cultures as a major factor in the epidemic and in this she is no doubt correct at least in part Poor people lack easy access to health care and they can’t afford whole fresh foods and must get the vast majority of their calories from denatured and highly processed foods However she doesn’t mention the fact that greater health care costs that result from people being fat must come out of somebody’s pocket Should the obese pay higher health insurance premiums She doesn’t address this uestionThe book is not without its entertainment value I got a kick out of all the sociology speak and the jargon some of which is encountered above to which we can add this gem which includes the use of “foreground” as a verb “Postmodern epidemics clearly foreground both the positive and negative aspects of medicalization” p 5 For balance perhaps Boero uses “regain” as a noun as in “Most of these people had experienced regain some time after their surgery” p 80 In the bariatric chapter we encounter “redundant skin” and “long term pouch care” which returns us to the reality of the obesity epidemic—Dennis Littrell author of “The World Is Not as We Think It Is”

characters Killer Fat

characters Killer Fat 107 ✓ 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 tContaining this new kind of diseaseBoero 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” movemen. Ok so I gave my own book 5 stars I promise I am not posting any fake reviews on there aren't even any real ones yet ;