The obesity epidemic

why diets and exercise don"t work, and what does by Robyn Toomath

Published .
Written in

  • Government policy,
  • Prevention,
  • Social aspects,
  • Obesity,
  • Food industry and trade,
  • Weight loss

  • About the Edition

    In a world where charlatans promise to fix the alarming obesity epidemic with a silver-bullet diet or trendy new exercise program, Robyn Toomath, a physician and realist, steps out of the fray to deliver some tough news: it"s really hard to lose weight. Dispelling common myths and telling provocative truths about weight gain--and loss--The Obesity Epidemic is an engaging investigation into the complicated factors that lead to obesity. While genes certainly play a part, Toomath argues, more people are fat than ever before because most of us consume significantly more calories than we did 30 years ago. But why? The answer, she asserts, is the commodification of food created by junk food advertising coupled with urbanization, globalization, and trade agreements. And while government, advertisers, gyms, and the weight loss industry keep pushing solutions that science shows do not work--from extreme exercise regimens and fad dieting to prohibitively expensive surgeries, pills, and misguided education campaigns--Toomath outlines what just might make a difference in terms of helping people truly control their weight. Drawing on the latest research and her twenty years of working with overweight patients, Dr. Toomath argues that even strongly determined people who are offered appealing incentives typically cannot lose weight permanently. Instead of demonizing people by treating weight as an issue of personal or even moral responsibility, Dr. Toomath makes it clear that nothing will change until we make it easy, not all but impossible, for people to eat healthily. Raising important questions about obesity, Toomath sidesteps the standard sound bites and puts an end to the myth of personal responsibility for body size by focusing on the environment all around us.

    Edition Notes

    StatementRobyn Toomath
    ContributionsToomath, Robyn
    LC ClassificationsRC628 .T66 2017
    The Physical Object
    Pagination210 pages
    Number of Pages210
    ID Numbers
    Open LibraryOL27230845M
    ISBN 101421422492
    ISBN 109781421422497
    OCLC/WorldCa989549969, 961410129

    In her book, "The Obesity Epidemic," Robyn Toomath delves into the underlying causes and consequences of obesity. With a focus on government policy, prevention, social aspects, and the food industry, Toomath explores why traditional approaches such as diets and exercise have failed to address this growing problem.

    The Ineffectiveness of Diets and Exercise

    Diets and exercise have long been touted as the go-to solutions for weight loss, but Toomath argues that they often provide only short-term results, if any. Many people download and read weight loss books in search of a quick fix only to be disappointed by the lack of sustainable results.

    According to Toomath, the human body is highly adaptive and is predisposed to defend against weight loss efforts. This adaptive response to calorie restriction can make it difficult for individuals to maintain weight loss in the long term. She stresses the importance of understanding these biological mechanisms for successful weight management.

    The Role of Government Policy in the Obesity Crisis

    Toomath highlights the role of government policy in combating the obesity epidemic. She emphasizes the need for comprehensive strategies that extend beyond individual responsibility and focus on creating environments conducive to healthy choices.

    By examining successful policies implemented in various countries, Toomath offers suggestions for policymakers to consider. These policy recommendations aim to address societal factors that contribute to obesity, such as the availability of unhealthy food options in schools and neighborhoods.

    Social Aspects and the Influence of the Food Industry

    Toomath delves into the social aspects that influence obesity rates. She explores the impact of socio-economic status, cultural norms, and marketing practices utilized by the food industry.

    The food industry, Toomath argues, often prioritizes profits over public health. She sheds light on the tactics employed by the industry to promote and sell unhealthy food products. By understanding these influences, readers can make informed choices and advocate for stricter regulations to protect public health.

    Effective Strategies for Obesity Prevention

    While exploring the challenges of combating obesity, Toomath offers alternative approaches to weight management. She emphasizes the importance of a holistic approach that tackles the root causes of obesity, rather than just focusing on weight loss alone.

    Toomath proposes a combination of individual strategies, community initiatives, and government interventions to promote healthy lifestyles. This comprehensive approach includes addressing the social determinants of health, such as income inequality, education, and access to healthcare.


    Robyn Toomath's book, "The Obesity Epidemic," provides a thought-provoking analysis of the factors contributing to this global health crisis. By challenging the effectiveness of diets and exercise and examining the role of government policy, social influences, and the food industry, Toomath offers a comprehensive perspective on obesity prevention. Her insights urge readers to reconsider prevailing weight loss paradigms and advocate for systemic changes that prioritize long-term health and well-being.