Challenging Obesity: The science behind the issues

Challenging Obesity: The science behind the issues

by HeatherMcLannahan (Editor), PeteClifton (Editor)


Food is one of the great pleasures of life. For many, more especially in the developed world, overindulgence and a less active lifestyle have generated the so-called epidemic of obesity. Despite this, many societies place great emphasis on a perfect, slim body shape and may discriminate against those who are overweight. There are strong individual differences in body weight, and hardly a month goes by without the announcement of yet another gene 'for' obesity, with discussion of the implications for those who hope to reduce their body weight. How should individuals and governments respond to the different challenges of obesity? The book takes a multidisciplinary approach, beginning with a broad overview of issues, then moving to an examination of the biological and psychological aspects of eating behaviour and exercise, and their implications for overall energy balance. These early chapters include a description of human nutrition and physiology, particularly in relation to adipose tissue, and an examination of the way in which brain receives information from the rest of the body about likely energy needs. One of the most important questions about obesity is why some individuals are so much heavier than others. Here the book looks at the contributions from genetics, development, and influences from the social environment - and the complex way in which these may interact. Obesity increases the risk of ill health. Later chapters examine the diseases that are associated with obesity, the discrimination experienced and its effect on socio-economic status and psychological wellbeing. Obesity is often associated with recurrent efforts to lose weight. We discuss the different strategies that individuals may use to lose weight, from diet and exercise through to more medically oriented options including surgery and drug treatment. None of these methods has a good record of success and may also incur harmful side effects; these problems are addressed, together with the research that might overcome them. The book concludes by examining how governments, and others, might develop policies that respond to the challenge of overcoming the obesity epidemic. Online Resource Centre The Online Resource Centre to accompany this book features: For registered adopters of the text: * Many figures from the book in electronic format, ready to download For everyone: * Access to ROUTES, a searchable internet database of online resources compiled by academic staff and subject-specialist librarians.



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More Information

Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
Edition: 1
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Published: 11 Sep 2008

ISBN 10: 0199563373
ISBN 13: 9780199563371

Media Reviews
This is a timely and useful text. It provides lots of examples and approaches to aid learning, and is written in a style that is very accessible. * Dr Ashley Cooper, University of Bristol *
Good material, highly appropriate, and well-focused. A good contribution to the subject area, written by well-qualified authors. * Professor Kevin Sykes, University of Chester *
This textbook provides a comprehensive introduction into one of the most challenging health problems for the early part of 21st century - obesity. It presents an overview of the complex circumstances that result in obesity and identifies the critical factors that are contributing to the obesity epidemic - the poor adaption of our body's biological processes to a relative abundance of food and an increasingly sedentary social environment. Each chapter is written in an easily readable style to makes the book extremely attractive to anyone who wishes to learn more about obesity. I recommend the book to all who wish to better understand the causes, the problems and the management of obesity. * Professor Peter Kopelman, Principal, St Georges, University of London *
Challenging Obesity is a well-written, comprehensive book dealing with an important public health issue. The authors provide a scientific perspective on obesity, addressing a number of different aspects of the topic. This book is a valuable and important resource for those studying, researching and teaching in the area of nutrition and public health. Of value to those studying the topic of obesity in particular, are the clear definitions, detailed summaries and self assessment questions. I would recommend this book to my students studying on our Energy Regulation and Obesity module. Although this book is primarily aimed at those studying the health sciences, individuals with a general interest in health and nutrition will also benefit from this book. * Dr Helen Lightowler, Oxford Brookes University *
Author Bio
Heather McLannahan is a Senior Lecturer in Health Studies at The Open University. She followed her postgraduate studies at Oxford with a Lectureship at Liverpool University and then worked on sea-bird behaviour, including feeding behaviour, at the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology in Norwich and gave undergraduate lectures at UEA until a further family move to the Lake District forced a career break. Here she discovered distance learning and became an OU Associate Lecturer, subsequently joining the full-time staff in 1988. Since then she has written about 20 chapters in books for OU courses, many of them co-published. Most recently she was academic editor and chapter author for the Science Faculty's most popular intermediary undergraduate course, Human Biology and has just completed the copublished undergraduate title Visual Impairment: A Global View (copublished with Oxford University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0199237319) to which she has been the major contributor and academic editor. Pete Clifton is Professor of Psychology at the University of Sussex and is also an Associate Lecturer with The Open University. He teaches biological psychology, with a particular focus on eating and obesity, to undergraduates in psychology and to medical students within the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. He is author of about 70 book chapters and journal articles. His research is in the area of feeding and body weight, with a particular emphasis on the relevant neural and behavioural mechanisms.