Advanced Nutrition And Dietetics In Obesity

Edited by Catherine Hankey PhD, Series Editor Professor Kevin Whelan.

Reviewed by Lucy Perrow, Obesity Specialist Dietitian and Chair of the BDA Obesity Specialist Group

Advanced Nutrition and Dietetics in Obesity is the first book published in this area of dietetics by Wiley Blackwell. The book is edited by Catherine Hankey (PhD, RD) a Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition at the School of Medicine, University of Glasgow and the series is edited by Kevin Whelan, Professor of Dietetics at King’s College London.

Obesity has been around for centuries, although previously seen as a sign of wealth, in the last few decades it has been designated as a worldwide health problem, with approximately 13% of the global population having a BMI over 30kg/m². According to NHS England, around £16 billion a year is spent on the direct medical costs related to being overweight or obese.

Structure And Content

This book is very easy to read and is structured very well. It covers both adults and children. It is divided into seven distinct chapters:

  • Introduction – including definitions, prevalence and diagnostic criteria for both adults and children
  • Consequences and comorbidities of obesity – including psychological and mental health issues and binge eating, as well as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, risk of cancer and osteoarthritis
  • Aetiology in adults – including genetics and epigenetics, appetite control, the obesogenic environment, medication and gut microbiome
  • Weight management of adults – including treatments such as meal replacement diets, group based interventions, commercial weight management organisations, physical activity, pharmacological management, surgical interventions and management of specific groups such as those with learning difficulties
  • Aetiology in children – including genetics and epigenetics focusing on studies in children, food intake and physical activity/inactivity
  • Weight management of children – treatment options including diet, physical activity, psychological intervention, residential programmes pharmacological management, and surgical interventions
  • Public health and prevention – including National campaigns and designing public health initiatives.

Key Highlights

If you’re short on time, the end of each chapter has a great bullet point summary outlining all the key points within the chapter. There are also tables and figures within the chapters that help summarise the key facts – e.g. Table 3.4.1 ‘The summary of the systematic review data on obesogenic drugs’ provides a great overview of drugs associated with weight gain and weight loss, and conditions they are used to treat.

The book also lists other useful books, websites or tools for further reading or for use in clinical practice e.g. web address for calculating child BMI online, or where to find growth charts.

The book provides a thorough background on obesity including why we use BMI to measure obesity and different cut offs for different ethnic groups. It also provides data on UK and worldwide prevalence, although unfortunately this data is slightly out of date with most recent data published from the Health Survey of England 2011. Prevalence has changed since then and new data was published by NHS National statistics office in 2017 using more up-to-date data.

Obesity And Metal Health

Many books and articles about obesity focus predominately on the causes and comorbidities, and medical treatments of obesity; however this book does address the psychological consequences of obesity and physical appearance. It discusses mental health and psychology associated with obesity, including weight stigma, anxiety and depression. It even provides a practical example in the five areas assessment model showing the vicious circles to show how a person feels, e.g. Figure 2.5.1 (pg 75).

Why Read It?

As an obesity specialist dietitian, I am often asked how to approach the subject of weight with parents or patients. This book has a whole section on this area which I think many healthcare professionals will find very useful and a subject that is often not addressed when reading about obesity in books and articles.

This book is aimed at health professionals already working in the area of obesity or those keen to learn more about the subject, and I would highly recommend it.