by Kathleen Y. Wolin, Sc.D., Jennifer M. Petrelli


Obesity is perhaps the most pervasive and overlooked medical threat in the country. Approximately 66 percent of American adults are overweight—about half of these defined clinically as obese. And the statistics for children are equally sobering. Nearly one in four white children, and one in three African American and Hispanic children, are estimated to be overweight.

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Cover image for Obesity

August 2009


Pages 160
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Health & Wellness/Diseases and Conditions

An overview written for general readers of the history, prevention, treatment, causes, and consequences of obesity.

What makes obesity a disease instead of just a matter of overeating? What are the genetic and environmental factors behind it? What new breakthroughs are being developing to combat it? This concise, information-rich volume looks at these and other important questions, clearing away misconceptions about this devastating condition.

Obesity explains what scientists now know about the causes and consequences of being overweight, including the latest on the links between obesity and heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, asthma, and sleep difficulties. The book pays specific attention to the problem among obese young people, who more and more are being diagnosed with chronic illnesses that used to only be seen in adults. It also reports on promising efforts to battle obesity, from medical treatments to community awareness programs.


  • The work is combines materials from history, epidemiology, behavioral science, surgery, pharmacology, economics, and policy
  • Includes a glossary of key terms related to the study of obesity


  • Takes readers to the forefront of contemporary obesity research, explaining important findings in an accessible way
  • Examines the detrimental effects of obesity in the United States and internationally
  • Pays particular attention to the problem of obesity in children, adolescents, and teenagers
Author Info

Kathleen Y. Wolin, ScD, is assistant professor of surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. She is also a member of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center and an Institute for Public Health Scholar. Wolin has written numerous publications on obesity and physical activity and conducts research on the roles of cancer in both prevention and control.

Jennifer M. Petrelli is an independent science writer with master's degrees in both epidemiology and nutrition. Petrelli has coauthored several peer-reviewed papers in the area of cancer research.



"For general readers, Wolin (surgery, Washington U. School of Medicine, Siteman Cancer Center, and Institute for Public Health) and Petrelli, an independent science writer who has master's degrees in epidemiology and nutrition, tell the story of obesity from its origins to the present, describing its causes; definition; risks for diseases like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, sleep difficulties, and quality of life issues; prevention and treatment; economic costs; future research and treatment in the US; and global impact, including the influence of marketing and the media."SciTech Book News

"Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above."Choice

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