New Book: Fat in Four Cultures

Sustainability scientists Alexandra Brewis and Amber Wutich are co-authors (with Cindi SturtzSreetharan, Jessica Hardin and Sarah Trainer) of a new book, Fat in Four Cultures: A Global Ethnography of Weight. The book looks at how people across four different cultures — Japan, the United States, Paraguay and Samoa — experience being fat. It examines how our bodies impact the way we talk, interact and fit into our social networks, communities and broader society. What surprised all five scientists is that the thin ideal has sunk in across the world. Public health messaging in all four countries urges people to watch what they eat, control diabetes and keep a handle on their weight. And people across the world all say the same things in response: I don’t have time to work out. The food near my office is unhealthy but it’s convenient. I know I should eat better, but healthy food costs too much. Yes, I know traditional food is bad for you, but it’s so delicious. In all four countries, it became clear that if you want that body that society tells you is ideal, it’s going to be expensive and it’s going to take time. Read more in ASU News.