47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fat is a three letter word..., 25 Mar 2003
The author has come in for a lot of flack from fat-activists and others in the united states and elsewhere for a very simple reason. 'Fat Land' may explore all the issues - political, social, economic, historical - that have contributed to the staggering rise in obesity amongst Americans but he never fails to make one point abundantly clear. People get fat when they eat and drink more calories than they expend. Pretty simple equation really. Most of the critics of this book appear never to have read further than the first chapter in which Critser explains how he came to realise that he was too fat and what he could do about it. As a well-to-do white male with access to good medical care and the time and encouragement to exercise (and access to somewhere to perform said exercise) he lost weight. But if its that easy, why are so many Americans getting and staying bigger?
This is an excellent book that answers those questions examining the changes in agricultural policies that lead to the adoption of fructose and palm oil in convenience foods, how those portions got bigger to attract more customers, how fast food chains and soda drink suppliers have set up shop in underfunded schools - computers for calories - how physical education consists of more time spent changing than playing in some schools, that parks and municipal sports facilities are few and far between in the areas that need them most, that simple things like walking to work are impossible in the average American city - there are no sidewalks - and that ultimately, its expensive to be thin.
This is an engaging, entertaining book that pulls no punches in describing the costs in both human and financial terms caused by obesity that are only likely to escalate. Critser has written a brave riposte to a society that pushes self-confidence, self-esteem, self-absorption, self-celebration and self-denial. Sorry guys, fat is a three letter word.