The Rise of Obesity in Europe: A Twentieth Century Food History, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Rise of Obesity in Europe

A Twentieth Century Food History, 1st Edition

By Derek J. Oddy

Edited by Peter J. Atkins


262 pages

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Twentieth century Europe went through a dramatic transition from low income populations experiencing hunger and nutritionally inadequate diets, to the recent era of over-consumption and growing numbers of overweight and obese people. By examining the trends in food history from case studies across Europe, this book offers a historical context to explain how and why this transition has occurred and what we can learn in order to try and address the vitally important issues arising from obesity in contemporary Europe.


'This pioneering book deals with one of the biggest revolutions in humankind: the transition from under-nourishment to abundance which occurred in Europe during the twentieth century. The book tackles social, spatial and temporal disparities in nine European countries, addressing such diverse issues as social policy, agribusiness, and people’s dreams and fears.' Peter Scholliers, Vrije University Brussels, Belgium 'This edited volume with studies from 9 countries is a first attempt to analyse the food history of obesity in Europe, the long way to affluence. The book goes beyond the generalities and provides insight into the historical processes and trends of obesity in Europe.' Adel P. den Hartog, Wageningen University, The Netherlands '…a fascinating insight into the changing patterns of food consumption and perceptions of the body in 20th century Europe…a necessary contribution to the diverse history of Europe.' Anthropology of Food 'The book is divided into three parts: food consumption and consumer choice; industrial and commercial influences on food consumption; and social and medical influences. The chapters are crammed with information and case studies.' Nursing Standard '…a useful volume for anyone interested in the history of obesity, or European food history in the twentieth century.' Medical History

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction, Derek J. Oddy and Peter J. Atkins; Part 1 Trends in Food Consumption and Consumer Choice: Century of hunger, century of plenty: how abundance arrived in Alpine valleys, Josef Nussbaumer and Andreas Exenberger; From Soviet cuisine to Kremlin diet: changes in consumption and lifestyle in 20th-century Russia, Tatiana Voronina; Slovene food consumption in the 20th century - from self-sufficiency to mass consumerism, Maja Godina Golija; The stop-go era: restoring food choice in Britain after World War II, Derek J. Oddy. Part 2 Industrial and Commercial Influences on Food Consumption: How food products gained an individual 'face': trademarks as a medium of advertising in the growing modern market economy in Germany, Hans Jürgen Teuteberg; Labelling standard information and food consumption in historical perspective: an overview of state regulation in Spain 1931-1975, Gloria Sanz Lafuente; Food labelling for health in the light of Norwegian nutrition policy, Gun Roos; Sugar production and consumption in France in the 20th century, Alain Drouard; Controlling fat and sugar in the Norwegian welfare state, Unni Kjærnes and Runar Døving. Part 3 Social and Medical Influences: Diet, body types, inequality and gender: discourses on 'proper nutrition' in German magazines and newspapers (c.1930-2000), Jürgen Schmidt; Food consumption and risk of obesity: the medical discourse in France 1850-1930, Julia Csergo; Slimming through the Depression: obesity and reducing in interwar Britain, Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska; Socialism and the overweight nation: questions of ideology, science and obesity in Czechoslovakia, 1950-70, Martin Franc; Separated, but sharing a health problem: obesity in East and West Germany, 1945-1989, Ulrike Thoms; Conclusion, Derek J. Oddy and Peter J. Atkins; Index.

About the Author/Editor

Professor Derek J. Oddy is Professor Emeritus at the University of Westminster, UK. Professor Peter J. Atkins is Professor of Geography at Durham University, UK. Dr Virginie Amilien is a Senior Researcher at the National Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO) in Oslo, Norway

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography