by Marion Nestle
Jun 19 2013

MIni book review: specialized but worth reading

Policy wonk types: try this one!

Melvin Delgado.  Social Justice and the Urban Obesity Crisis: Implications for Social Work.  Columbia University Press, 2013.

This is an academic’s analysis of the social causes of obesity, especially among the urban poor, and what to do about it.  Although the book is aimed at social workers, it works for public health as well.  Delgado calls for community-based participatory health promotion principles and interventions.  These are clearly needed.

If only they weren’t so hard to do…

  • It seems very unlikely that poverty cause people to get obese, on the other hand it is not hard to believe that obesity could cause one to be poor. The fattest and thinnest people tend to be poor which looks like discrimination.


    Contrary to conventional wisdom, NHANES data indicate that the poor have never had a statistically significant higher prevalence of overweight status at any time in the last 35 years. Despite this empirical evidence, the view that the poor are less healthy in terms of excess accumulation of fat persists. This paper provides evidence that conventional wisdom is reflecting important differences in the relationship between income and the body mass index. The first finding is based on distribution-sensitive measures of overweight which indicates that the severity of overweight has been higher for the poor than the nonpoor throughout the last 35 years. The second finding is from a newly introduced estimator, unconditional quantile regression (UQR), which provides a measure of the income-gradient in BMI at different points on the unconditional BMI distribution. The UQR estimator indicates that the strongest relationship between income and BMI is observed at the tails of the distribution. There is a statistically significant negative income gradient in BMI at the obesity threshold and some evidence of a positive gradient at the underweight threshold. Both of these UQR estimates imply that for those at the tails of the BMI distribution, increases in income are correlated with healthier BMI values.

  • This is a very interesting book. I really thought obesity is not at all affected by social status. I think this is very debatable. Still, I would love to read this. 😉

  • A new FDA approved diet pill called Belviq just went on the market. People who take Belviq with diet and exercise were 2 times more likely to lose 5% body weight and 3 times more likely to lose 10% body weight than the people who just did diet and exercise alone. The label states that if you do not lose 5% of your body weight in 12 weeks then consider stopping. Those that do respond in 12 weeks go on to lose over 10% of their body weight in one year. Losing 22 pounds for a 220 pound man is life changing. So comments about average weight loss are misleading and incorrect since over 45% of the patients lost a significant amount of weight.

  • What a load of baloney. Look at the world today. A lot of kids are over weight because they eat too much of the wrong foods. This causes diabetes. Low self esteem from bullying and lack of parental care/love causes depression which may lead to obesity.Family genes has a part to play as well. Arthritis…come on..cardiovascular disease because you were spanked…come on. Spanking is the least choice for discipline, but occasionally when all other avenues fail its the best. Kids then get the message that you really mean what you say. Yes, teaching them self-skills and letting them know about boundaries and praising them when they do good is great. This is very little discipline today compared to before the 1990’s and look at today’s society. They are over weight, depressed, drug users, alcohol abusers, they swear, have no respect, self centered, untrustworthy.

  • Obesity has tended to be an issue that grows along with affluence. Prosperity means bigger paychecks, which can mean more meat, fast foods and bigger meals. Meanwhile, long hours at desk or factory jobs instead of agricultural ones mean less physical activity. The obesity problem is primarily an urban one in a population that is rapidly urbanizing.