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The Energy Glut: The Politics of Fatness in an Overheating World [Paperback]

Ian Roberts
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Price: 13.63 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

9 Sep 2010
World-wide, over a billion adults are overweight and 300 million are officially obese. The Energy Glut expertly tells the story of energy in society, and places 'fatness' next to climate change, as manifestations of the same fundamental planetary malaise. This exciting new book argues that the pulse of fossil fuel energy released from the ground after the discovery of oil not only started the process of catastrophic climate change, but also propelled the average human weight distribution upwards. The author presents a terrifying vision of humans besieged by a food industry that uses sophisticated marketing techniques to sell us mountains of energy-dense food whilst at the same time we are 'functionally paralysed' with fewer opportunities to move our bodies than ever before and that the accumulation of body fat is a political, not a personal, problem. This insightful new work offers and appraises for the reader a set of personal and political de-carbonising strategies, but to 'tread more lightly on our world' we first need to make sense of the systemic processes, and Energy Glut takes expert first steps in this direction.

Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Zed Books Ltd.; 1 edition (9 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848135181
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848135185
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 524,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'Ian Roberts presents a refreshingly novel and objective look at two of the biggest Public Health challenges of this century - obesity and climate change - and the inescapable link between them. No longer is obesity a lifestyle condition or a problem of greedy, sloth couch potatoes. It is an inevitable consequence of our globally oil-dependent society. Read on and you should be convinced enough to reclaim your life... and your planet' --Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, MD, President, Royal College of Physicians

About the Author

Ian Roberts is Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at the London School of Health and Tropical Medicine.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The true story of the "obesity crisis" 3 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Three of the biggest global public health challenges (obesity, sustainable transport and climate change) are persuasively analysed leading to the conclusion that they share a single cause - cheap oil. In making this link the author demonstrates how obesity is not a personal problem and should not be treated as such.

Well written and very readable, it must be read by everyone working in the field of public health and should be read by everyone else.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Roberts uses his direct experience as a doctor in the UK and third world countries, and combines it wide range of other people's research to lay out the linkages between rapidly rising obesity in the west, the continued global rise of the car and the oil industry, and the increasing productisation and abasement of the food we consume. His arguments for changes big and small are very important. He has altered my perception of what some of the most serious global problems we need to address are. For these reasons, I'd like to see as many people as possible reading the book.

So what's wrong with it? The problem is that sometime the tone is hectoring. Obviously the author feels strongly about the issues he writes about, and wants us to feel the same. But he goes too far at times, in particular towards the end of the book, to the point where I feel myself annoyed even when he's making points I broadly agree with.

I really hope there will be a second edition updating the book with new insights and research. But I hope that also the author takes the opportunity to tone down some of the rhetoric and let people make their own minds up - because that would make the arguments more persuasive.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timebomb writing 4 Dec 2011
By Prawsk
Best tract I have read on the possible apocalyptic future should we continued to live the way we do. Written in an eloquent and readable style, the author backs up a lot of his assersions with credible research. He pulls no punches when it comes to describing it how it is and produces shocking - but in light of the evidence - unsurprising endgames. I commend this book to anyone who has the slightest interest in where the human race is heading should we continue to produce and comsume in the arrogant way we are doing at the moment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars review 14 Nov 2010
A shocking indictment of the current obesity and related issues. A great analysis at last linking the obesity problem, putting the blame onto the individual, and the transport system which is designed to get people into a sedentary lifestyle and behind the wheel of a motorised vehicle.

An easy read but thorough investigation, and very up-to-date
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your 'must-read' for 2011! 7 Jan 2011
This compelling book is a very enjoyable read, even for those with no medical or scientific background. Author Ian Roberts offers the reader a veritable glut of 'AHA!' moments when, suddenly, the link of fossil fuel consumption to the problems of obesity and climate change become so clear and simple to understand. These hot issues are then placed firmly in the political, not personal, zone.

With his extensive background in the treatment/study of head trauma caused by road traffic accidents, the author knows painfully and intimately why we cannot allow our children to roam, play or walk to school as they once did, and why so adults many fear reclaiming the roads by cycling, jogging or walking as transport. He asserts that is not the individual's 'fault' that society has evolved to make even basic exercise a luxury. Nor is it the individual's 'fault' that densely calorific processed foods are so readily available and so cunningly marketed. The overall societal, global shift towards fatness shows an increasing waistline is NOT simply due to the bad 'habits' of a gluttonous, lazy individual.

Energy Glut is, however, certainly not all doom and gloom. Roberts goes on to offer solutions that will appeal to anyone trying to make a difference to their own health, and that of our planet. A valuable and timely book that should be read by everyone. Thank you, Ian.
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