This was an interesting and informative book on the science behind weight and weight loss, with the premise being that weight is determined mainly by genetics, so overweight and obese people may never be able to slim down. Not a very positive outlook for some, but it makes sense to me, since there is such variation in the physical features of human beings that wouldn't it make sense that some of us are naturally bigger than others?
The book looks at various weight loss studies done in the past to back up its argument, and also follows a group of dieters over the course of a weight loss study. Besides discussing science, the book also addresses social and cultural attitudes surrounding weight loss. Kolata does a good job of debunking the cultural myth that overweight people are overweight because they simply eat too much, showing that in some cases overweight people eat the same amount as regular people (or even less). The book also looks at the fixation on loosing weight that is so ubiquitous in society. In terms of scientific solutions to obesity, it doesn't offer much aside from the possibility of the hormone leptin, which takes a major role in regulating appetite and metabolism, though anyone who will be reading this book for weight loss methods will surely be disappointed since there haven't been any successful weight loss studies done using leptin at the time the book was published.
Overall a good, informative read, which made me reconsider many of my beliefs about weight loss and obesity.