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State(s) of obesity

Dan Farber, professor of law | September 11, 2014

State of Obesity, a joint project of the Trust for America’s Future and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has released a fascinating report about adult obesity. There are large national disparities. The obesity rate is over 35% in West Virginia and Mississippi, but only 21% in Colorado. Despite these disparities, obesity rates have grown everywhere … Continue reading »

City of Berkeley vs. big soda

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | September 9, 2014

I was phoned the other night in middle of dinner by an earnest young man named Spencer, who said he was doing a survey. Rather than hang up I agreed to answer his questions. He asked me if I knew a soda tax would be on the ballot in Berkeley in November (as Measure D). … Continue reading »

Sugar MADNESS: How metabolic syndrome drives obesity and what you can do about it

Tomás Aragón, Clinical Faculty, School of Public Health | February 2, 2014

Sugar consumption, especially from sugary drinks, is the single largest and preventable contributor to the global epidemic of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and unhealthy weight gain. Fructose is the part of “sugar” that is the culprit. Fructose in liquid form is worse! Fructose is metabolized by the liver. With repeated exposures, … Continue reading »

Why I’m boycotting Coke

Dan Farber, professor of law | March 19, 2013

 Why Coke, you might wonder.  Why not Pepsi?  The answer is that diet coke is my soft drink of choice.  It’s easy for me to boycott other soft drinks since I don’t drink them anyway. I like diet coke, so that’s the subject of my boycott. But why boycott soft drinks at all?  Answer: Because … Continue reading »

The NAACP and the politics of race and regulation

Dan Farber, professor of law | January 29, 2013

There’s a bit of a kerfuffle going on about the NAACP’s defense of over-sized soft-drinks.  In an amicus brief challenging New York City’s new ban on the super-size, the NAACP (joined by the Hispanic Federation and an association of Korean grocers) takes a surprisingly libertarian stance against government regulation.  It laments that the ban is … Continue reading »

On prejudice against fat people

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, professor of psychology | July 10, 2012

Anderson Cooper’s coming out was important for the shaping of the discourse around sexual orientation. Public figures’ attitudes around same-sex couples (including President Obama’s) have real psychological power to change the public’s own attitudes. A turn in attitudes in this domain is evident even in Robert Spitzer’s apology for his support of a gay “cure,” as well as this column by … Continue reading »

Fat City, U.S.A.

Dan Farber, professor of law | July 6, 2012

The graphic below, from the Economist, shows the amount of excess biomass due to obesity and overall population.  As the chart shows, obese North Americans are carrying around an extra 263 million kilograms of fat — or just about 290 thousand tons of fat.  That’s a daunting thought. That’s a pattern that definitely isn’t going … Continue reading »

Our entire nation needs to become “metabolically fit”

Barbara Abrams, professor of public health | November 4, 2009

Although there is an enormous body of epidemiological studies that link obesity with poor health, a 2009 review by Wildman* concluded that a third of obese people have normal levels of metabolic markers that would suggest no increased risk of heart disease.  This field of study is in its infancy, and we don’t know why, … Continue reading »