Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture

Holt. Apr. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9781250831217. $29.99. PARENTING
A 2012 study shows that nearly 80 percent of Americans may have some level of bias toward people with larger bodies, and that prejudice may have started when they were children. Journalist Sole-Smith (The Eating Instinct) deliberately uses the word “fat” in this work, as she believes that the stigma surrounding it needs to be removed. In this well-researched book, the author examines historical models and policies that don’t take into account normal variations in growth. The “childhood obesity epidemic” is addressed at length, with the caveat that weight loss in a child could lead to an eating disorder and dietary restrictions may result in incidents of sneaking food. The effects of racial discrimination and poverty, with the expense of fruits and vegetables (particularly organic) being cost-prohibitive in some communities, are also explored. The book ends with a chapter called “How to Have the Fat Talk,” which includes a list of additional resources, but this title would’ve benefitted from even more of the author’s take on how to effect change.
VERDICT Overall, this book shines in its look at policy and historical views of this topic. Parents concerned about their child’s weight and body image will appreciate it.
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