Download Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of by Julie Guthman PDF

By Julie Guthman

Weighing In takes at the “obesity epidemic,” demanding many largely held assumptions approximately its explanations and effects. Julie Guthman examines fatness and its dating to healthiness results to invite if our efforts to avoid “obesity” are good, efficacious, or moral. She additionally focuses the lens of weight problems at the broader foodstuff approach to appreciate why we produce affordable, over-processed foodstuff, in addition to why we consume it. Guthman takes factor with the presently touted therapy to obesity—promoting nutrition that's neighborhood, natural, and farm clean. whereas such fare might be tastier and grown in additional ecologically sustainable methods, this process may also strengthen type and race inequalities and forget different attainable factors for the increase in weight problems, together with environmental pollution. Arguing that ours is a political economic system of bulimia—one that promotes intake whereas additionally insisting upon thinness—Guthman bargains a fancy research of our whole economy.

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Additional resources for Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism (California Studies in Food and Culture)

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Such “iatrogenic” weight gain is a common side effect of the use of steroids to treat lifethreatening illnesses such as systemic lupus, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis (Pijl and Meinders 1996). Importantly, it is also an effect of insulin therapy to treat diabetes, which can then contribute to cardiovascular disorders (David and Rehman 2007). In these cases, the cause of death cannot really be attributed to obesity. I will return to the contribution of pharmaceuticals to obesity in chapter 5. If pressed, many public health professionals would have little argument with what I have presented thus far; they, more than anyone, are aware of the limitations of epidemiological evidence.

Substantively, however, the claims are quite typical. But are they right? This chapter will show that the “obesity epidemic” is an artifact of particular measures, statistical conventions, epidemiological associations, and rhetorical moves. The point is not that they are wrong; rather, it is that they paint the picture in ways that tend to overdramatize some elements and underspecify others, especially those that might lead to different conceptualizations of the problem. In general, existing ways of measuring and representing obesity show more concern with phenotype than with pathology—they are more interested in size than in disease.

Remarkably, up until 2007, the association of body mass index (BMI) with cause-specific mortality had not been reported for the US population. indd 34 7/19/2011 5:12:05 PM how do we know obesity is a problem? 35 provoked the CDC to study “cause-specific” deaths before drawing conclusions about excess deaths related to obesity. In this study, researchers linked data on cause of death and vital statistics with BMI ranges and risk factors drawn from health surveys. What they found is that obesity and overweight correlated with higher mortality from cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers, but lower mortality from other causes, whereas underweight and normal weight were associated with higher mortality from some cancers and noncardiovascular diseases such as acute and chronic respiratory illnesses and infectious diseases (Flegal et al.

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