cover image GENERATION EXTRA LARGE: Rescuing Our Children from Obesity

GENERATION EXTRA LARGE: Rescuing Our Children from Obesity

Elaine Herscher, Chris Woolston, Lisa Tartamella, . . Basic, $25 (255pp) ISBN 978-0-465-08390-9

After Supersize Me and all of the recent press devoted to Americans' obesity, in both childhood and adulthood, fourth-graders who weigh over 200 pounds and pediatricians who look for hypertension in their young patients are no longer a surprise. About one in six American children is seriously overweight and at high risk for type 2 diabetes, but the children themselves are not to blame, say the authors of this new study, who work in or write about the nutrition field. Rather, they blame a culture that promotes fast food, along with a sharp decline in the amount of exercise young people are getting. Drawing on research and compelling case studies, the authors point out that shrinking budgets lead school cafeterias to sell junk food and install soda machines. Corporations like McDonald's promote their products by sponsoring programs in financially strapped schools. The authors believe that parents must be taught the elements of good nutrition and to support overweight children in developing good eating and exercise habits. They also strongly believe that government intervention is required to mandate phys-ed classes and to provide sufficient funding to schools so that they won't sell and advertise junk food. A comprehensive and briskly written summary, this grounded account adds a welcome voice to the chorus. Agent, Barbara Moulton. (Jan.)