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Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism ( California Studies in Food and Culture #32)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  113 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Weighing In takes on the "obesity epidemic," challenging many widely held assumptions about its causes and consequences. Julie Guthman examines fatness and its relationship to health outcomes to ask if our efforts to prevent "obesity" are sensible, efficacious, or ethical. She also focuses the lens of obesity on the broader food system to understand why we produce cheap, o ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published November 5th 2011 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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Chelsea
Weighing In is an excellent demonstration of how political ecology can be deployed to deepen our understanding of an incredibly complicated issue. Guthman provides an accessible overview of what political ecology is, and how it contrasts with apolitical ecologies, before applying it to the problem of obesity.

While I applaud Guthman’s approach, I do not agree with all of her conclusions. I was particularly troubled by her skepticism of the value of education in tackling the problems of our indus
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sdw
Have you ever wanted to stand up and applaud in the middle of the book? Stop whatever you are doing and acquire a copy of Guthman’s book. If you care about food issues, social justice issues, the environment, or economic justice, you need to hear what Guthman has to say.

What is the root cause of the obesity epidemic? Guthman will undercut just about every answer you think you have. What we need, Guthman argues, is not will power but the will to power.

She starts by questioning the very concept
...more
Della S.white
Portion sizes in eating establishments have blown out of proportion. Foods companies under the claim that they give people what they want have redefined the meaning of small, medium, and large and people have lost sense of what a portion is and eat more.

Economics weighs heavily on the food crisis. It costs more to eat well and to exercise. Modern technology made food cheaper and physical activity less needed. The food is manufactures is full of fat and sugar and causes obesity. The present econ
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Rachel
Julie Guthman is fast becoming my favorite author on this food journey o'mine. I have appreciated reading several of her articles, but this book has been a new favorite for me.

At times humorous (every time she throws Michael Pollan under the bus) and at times sharp witted and critical (critiquing food justice and the food movement) Weighing In provides an overall critique of the rhetoric used within the food movement; the way bodies are used as sites of consumerism and capitalism by industries w
...more
Krista Aoki
If you consider Michael Pollan's history of the subsidization of food in The Omnivore's Dilemma well-researched (which I did), Julie Guthman will go above and beyond for you. Their analysis of the food system and its political history complement each other, and I think it would do anyone very well to get a basic framework of the current status of the food system for Pollan.

Still, Guthman's critique of the food system seems much more concise, as she takes a firmer stand against the neoliberalist
...more
Allison
I read this one twice, for two different classes in grad school, and I had a different take on the book both times. The first time, I was frustrated with the seemingly fat-positive author and her criticisms of the obesity epidemic. The second time around, armed with a better understanding of healthism, neo-liberalism, and the implications of obesity in America, I found it to be a very worthwhile read.
Jill Lucht
It took me a long while to get through this book, but not because it isn't excellent, interesting, and thought-provoking. After burning out in the land of non-profit farm policy, I became entranced by the market-based solutions of alternative food. Unfortunately, Guthman put me back on the hook for collaborative, forward-thinking policy work. Quite frankly, it is the neo-liberal market-based food economy that got us into the obesity epidemic, and market-based solutions are not going to get all o ...more
Nick Harris
Fairly dry at times, and could have used some solutions to round out the arguments. However, filled with some thought provoking critiques, particularly for alternative food and obesity measurement
Emily
In Weighing In, Guthman questions many of the widely held assumptions about obesity, some of which rocked my public health education a bit - for example, that built environment interventions are for naught due to the greater influence of socioeconomic status. It's certainly a provocative and important book that is worthy of a place in public health, nutrition, and food studies to start.

I'm presenting a paper on a panel with Guthman in June 2012 at ASFS and am glad that I read her book prior to
...more
Madeline
Jan 13, 2015 Madeline marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Want to read this again.
Mya
This was an interesting look at food politics, the science of obesity, & the social (mis)perceptions of the health issues involved in being overweight. However, it was also clearly written as a scholarly work rather than to reach popular culture & so was a bit tedious in places.
Holly
Guthman discussed a lot of things that no other food activist has really brought up yet. Some of her points are very valid. However the first half of the book seemed to take an anti-science stance, which bothered me a little.
Kelsey Layos
Very interesting, thought-provoking book. It's definitely made me reassess my biasses towards folks I perceive as unhealthy, and my own privileged life.
Susie
May 21, 2013 Susie is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Em sent this to me and it's a feasible way to look at obesity and the way our current issues about food.
Brandy
May 22, 2012 Brandy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, non-fiction
Putting this one back on the to-read shelf because I had to rush through parts
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“In any case, seeing care for certain groups as an excessive cost reflects an arguably perverse way of thinking about health care in terms of human need. [...] In other words, care for the sick is an economic burden only in health care systems where profit is the bottom line and public services are underfunded and politically unsupported - that is, systems in which only market logic is considered legitimate.” 3 likes
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