Married Antoinette Mongelli.
Journalist and writer.
The National Geographic Traveler: California, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2000.
Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003.
Generation Rx: How Prescription Drugs Are Altering American Lives, Minds, and Bodies, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2005.
Greg Critser is a journalist who specializes in health and obesity issues. He writes about the obesity problem in the United States in his book Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World. Based on four years of research, the book explores how approximately sixty percent of the U.S. population has become overweight. The author documents various factors that caused the rise in obesity, from the abundance of corn syrup used in many food products to fast-food restaurant growth. He also indicts the increasing overall use of processed food that requires little or no cooking and is nutritionally lacking and usually fattening. "This is compelling reading for everyone who is concerned about nutrition and health," wrote Shirley Reis in Kliatt. A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote: "The text … is generally lean and lucid, with wry commentary on the social aspects of Phat America." A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that the author writes "in vivid prose conveying the urgency of the situation, with just the right amount of detail for general readers." New York Times contributor Michiko Kakutani wrote: "Although many of the findings in Fat Land have appeared in newspapers and magazines in the last few years, Mr. Critser has done a nimble job of pulling this information together and assembling it into a fluent if sometimes cursory narrative."
Critser takes on the pharmaceutical industry and the pill-popping habits of Americans in Generation Rx: How Prescription Drugs Are Altering American Lives, Minds, and Bodies. Critser details the vast numbers of Americans taking prescription drugs, with almost fifty percent of all Americans taking a prescription drug and around fifteen percent taking three or more different prescription drugs a day. The author traces part of the growth in prescription drug use back to the days of President Ronald Reagan and deregulation that ultimately led to marketing drugs straight to the consumer. In addition to blaming increased consumer marketing by pharmaceutical companies for the growth in prescription drug use, Critser also criticizes the pharmaceutical industry for their practice of encouraging physicians to prescribe their medications for medical problems even though the drugs have not received government approval to treat these problems. The author also discusses how the pharmaceutical industry and the medical community have "medicalized" normal parts of life, which, according to Critser, has led to drug use for common, sometimes temporary, and often minor problems, such as mild allergies.
Writing in the Washington Monthly, Shannon Brownlee called Generation Rx "fascinating, often funny." Brownlee went on to note: "Critser's history of the rise of direct-to-consumer advertising is rich, insightful, often wry, and filled with enterprising reporting." In a review in the Library Journal, Kathy Arsenault noted that "this sorry saga of unprincipled greed is followed by potential practical solutions." A Psychology Today contributor wrote that the author "deftly critiques our pill-popping culture, from the marketing of drugs to the manipulation of doctors."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 15, 2005, Donna Chavez, review of Generation Rx: How Prescription Drugs Are Altering American Lives, Minds, and Bodies, p. 10.
British Medical Journal, January 25, 2003, Fred Charatan, review of Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World, p. 229.
JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, April 9, 2003, David Kritchevsky, review of Fat Land, p. 1859; November 23, 2005, Walter A. Brown, review of Generation Rx, p. 2639.
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, spring, 2005, Gary T. Ford, review of Fat Land, p. 174.
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, August, 2006, Schuyler W. Henderson, review of Generation Rx, p. 1016.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2002, review of Fat Land, p. 1584; August 1, 2005, review of Generation Rx, p. 826.
Kliatt, July, 2004, Shirley Reis, review of Fat Land, p. 40.
Library Journal, December, 2002, Irwin Weintraub, review of Fat Land, p. 163; August 1, 2005, Kathy Arsenault, review of Generation Rx, p. 110.
New England Journal of Medicine, May 22, 2003, Jay E. Gladstein, review of Fat Land, p. 2161.
New Scientist, June 7, 2003, review of Fat Land, p. 53.
New York Times, January 7, 2003, Michiko Kakutani, review of Fat Land, p. E12.
New York Times Book Review, January 12, 2003, Michael Pollan, review of Fat Land, p. 6; December 7, 2003, brief review of Fat Land, p. 72; January 11, 2004, Scott Veale, "New & Noteworthy Paperbacks," p. 24; November 20, 2005, Joe Queenan, review of Generation Rx, p. 11.
Psychology Today, November-December, 2005, review of Generation Rx, p. 38.
Publishers Weekly, November 25, 2002, review of Fat Land, p. 53; August 8, 2005, review of Generation Rx, p. 227.
Science, February 7, 2003, review of Fat Land, p. 828.
SciTech Book News, June, 2003, review of Fat Land, p. 100.
Washington Monthly, December, 2005, Shannon Brownlee, review of Generation Rx, p. 39.
Satya Web site,http://www.satyamag.com/ (November 20, 2006), "Too Fat for Our Own Good: The Satya Interview with Greg Critser."*