Request Inspection Copy

If you are an Academic or Teacher and wish to consider this book as a prescribed textbook for your course, you may be eligible for a complimentary inspection copy. Please complete this form, including information about your position, campus and course, before adding to cart.

* Required Fields

To complete your Inspection Copy Request you will need to click the Checkout button in the right margin and complete the checkout formalities. You can include Inspection Copies and purchased items in the same shopping cart, see our Inspection Copy terms for further information.

Any Questions? Please email our text Support Team on text@footprint.com.au

Submit

Email this to a friend

* ALL required Fields

Order Inspection Copy

An inspection copy has been added to your shopping cart

Fat in the Fifties: America's First Obesity Crisis

by Nicolas Rasmussen Johns Hopkins University Press
Pub Date:
03/2019
ISBN:
9781421428710
Format:
Hbk 200 pages
Price:
AU$84.00 NZ$86.96
Product Status: Out of stock. Not available to order.

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company identified obesity as the leading cause of premature death in the United States in the 1930s, but it wasn't until 1951 that the public health and medical communities finally recognized it as "America's Number One Health Problem." The reason for MetLife's interest? They wanted their policyholders to live longer and continue paying their premiums. Early postwar America responded to the obesity emergency, but by the end of the 1960s, the crisis waned and official rates of true obesity were reduced' despite the fact that Americans were growing no thinner. What mid-century factors and forces established obesity as a politically meaningful and culturally resonant problem in the first place? And why did obesity fade from public'and medical'consciousness only a decade later?

Based on archival records of health leaders as well as medical and popular literature, Fat in the Fifties is the first book to reconstruct the prewar origins, emergence, and surprising disappearance of obesity as a major public health problem. Author Nicolas Rasmussen explores the postwar shifts that drew attention to obesity, as well as the varied approaches to its treatment: from thyroid hormones to psychoanalysis and weight loss groups. Rasmussen argues that the US government was driven by the new Cold War and the fear of atomic annihilation to heightened anxieties about national fitness. Informed by the latest psychiatric thinking'which diagnosed obesity as the result of oral fixation, just like alcoholism'health professionals promoted a form of weight loss group therapy modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous. The intervention caught on like wildfire in 1950s suburbia. But the sense of crisis passed quickly, partly due to cultural changes associated with the later 1960s and partly due to scientific research, some of it sponsored by the sugar industry, emphasizing particular dietary fats, rather than calorie intake.

Through this riveting history of the rise and fall of the obesity epidemic, readers gain an understanding of how the American public health system'ambitious, strong, and second-to-none at the end of the Second World War'was constrained a decade later to focus mainly on nagging individuals to change their lifestyle choices. Fat in the Fifties is required reading for public health practitioners and researchers, physicians, historians of medicine, and anyone concerned about weight and weight loss.

Acknowledgments
Chapter 1. Fat and the Public's Health before the Second World War
Chapter 2. Obesity Becomes a Mental Disorder
Chapter 3. The Postwar Heart Alarm
Chapter 4. Fighting Heart Disease One Calorie at a Time in Cold War Suburbia
Chapter 5. The New Epidemiology and Its Impact
Chapter 6. The Disappearance of Obesity as a Public Health Problem
Notes
Index

Nicolas Rasmussen is a professor of humanities at the University of New South Wales. His most recent book is On Speed: The Many Lives of Amphetamine.