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date: 06 December 2019

(p. ix) Preface

(p. ix) Preface

Thank you for reading the Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity. The purpose of this Handbook is to provide an accurate and convenient summary of the findings and insights of obesity research from the full range of social sciences, including anthropology, economics, government, psychology, and sociology. This volume offers something that has never before existed: primers and crash courses on the study of obesity from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives, written by the most accomplished and distinguished researchers.

I was delighted that Terry Vaughn of Oxford University Press immediately grasped the importance of this Handbook and, as editor, shepherded the proposal through external review and internal approval. I particularly appreciate that Terry was willing to make the case within Oxford University Press that this Handbook needed to be multidisciplinary, and managed to secure the necessary approval of five disciplinary delegates at OUP in order for the title of this volume to include the words “Social Science.” Catherine Rae of Oxford University Press was unfailingly helpful in answering the scores of questions that arise in producing a volume such as this, and shepherded the volume through Oxford’s internal editing and formatting process. Jenny Wolkowicki and Theresa Stockton were the expert production editors, and Kiran Kumar the project manager.

I thank Angelica Hammer for her careful and diligent work formatting the chapters. She took 47 chapters, written by 87 authors, which had been composed in different word processing programs and in a multitude of styles, and formatted them all to ensure that the Handbook looks like a single work instead of a patchwork quilt. I am grateful for the assistance of Sara Catterall of SMC Indexing, who read every page of this Handbook to create the index.

I thank John Lathrop for the creative and thoughtful cover art. He did an exceptional job depicting global disparities in weight while adhering to the style of cover art in the Oxford University Press Handbooks series.

I am grateful to Simone French, John Komlos, Shiriki Kumanyika, Jeff Sobal, and Mary Story, who suggested possible authors for some chapters.

I thank my coauthors on research on the economics of obesity, from whom I have learned so much: Rosemary Avery, Richard Burkhauser, Julie Carmalt, (p. x) Sheldon Danziger, Matt Eisenberg, Markus Grabka, Euna Han, Kara Joyner, Don Kenkel, Barrett Kirwan, Dean Lillard, Feng Liu, J. Catherine Maclean, Sara Markowitz, Chad Meyerhoefer, John Moran, David Newhouse, Edward Norton, Joshua Price, John Rizzo, Larissa Roux, Chris Ruhm, Max Schmeiser, Kosali Simon, Jeff Sobal, Katharina Spiess, Matt Sweeney, John Tauras, Jay Variyam and Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder. A great joy of academic life is working with your friends, and I hope we collaborate on research again.

I will always be grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Scholars in Health Policy Research Program for its generous support, at an early stage of my career, of my research on the economics of obesity. The “Scholars Program” is committed to multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research on health, and it is no coincidence that Program alumni (Rogan Kersh and Abigail Saguy) are represented among the authors of this Handbook.

I am fortunate to work in a multidisciplinary academic department that values cross-disciplinary communication. I sincerely appreciate the encouragement and support of my Dean, Alan Mathios, and my department chair, Rosemary Avery. Don Kenkel has been the ideal senior mentor, always ready to provide valuable insights and advice even while on sabbatical, and Richard Burkhauser has been an invaluable informal mentor as well as research collaborator.

On a personal note, I am always grateful for the love and support of my wife, Rachel Dunifon, and my sons Jimmy and Will. This Handbook is dedicated to you.

John Cawley