SOCIAL SCIENCES

What's Wrong with Fat?

What's Wrong with Fat? Oxford Univ. Jan. 2013. 272p. illus. bibliog. index. notes. ISBN 9780199857081. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780199968251. SOC SCI
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This is a disturbing book that many people—fat, skinny, and in between; academics and members of the medical profession; statisticians and communications specialists; and anyone who has ever thought twice about that third Oreo—will want to read. Saguy (sociology & gender studies, Univ. of California, Los Angeles; What Is Sexual Harassment?) here examines societal perceptions of fat people. She argues that, as a result of media-wide acceptance of a current "obesity epidemic" and other "frames" supporting this contention (including some that reek of racial prejudice), being overweight is, in addition to unhealthy, widely perceived as evidence of lack of self-control. Her coverage is similar to New York Times science reporter Gina Kolata's in Rethinking Thin, and the Times has reported on recently analyzed data that weighs against being too thin. Former FDC commissioner David Kessler's The End of Overeating and Marion Nestle's books, e.g., Food Politics, however, emphasize the legitimate concerns about obesity.
VERDICT For both general readers and specialists.

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