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Book and Media Reviews
May 7, 2008

Obesity: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, and Prevention

JAMA. 2008;299(17):2092-2093. doi:10.1001/jama.299.17.2092

This book is not a casual read. It is an in-depth treatise on the epidemiology, pathophysiology, prevention, and treatment of a modern-day epidemic, obesity. It begins with a detailed review of the prevalence and health burden of obesity worldwide and how the current situation has developed over the past 4 decades. Section 2 deals with the pathophysiology of obesity and the effects of environmental estrogens and endocrine disruption by plastics and environmental chemicals. This section likewise deals with the relationship between obesity and cigarette smoking, appetite, energy balance, and disordered eating, as well as the roles of neurotransmitters, neurobiology, leptin, ghrelin, and genetics. Section 3 deals with obesity and chronic cardiovascular diseases, including the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Sections 4 and 5 deal with the development of obesity drugs, with reviews of their safety and effectiveness. Section 6 is quite long and deals with natural, nutritional, and physical approaches to weight management. There is very little, if anything, about the many approaches to weight loss that is a not addressed in this section. Sections 7 and 8 are short sections covering the topics of childhood obesity and bariatric surgery.