I chose obesity because it is a very important problem all over the world. In addition to the US, many people in many countries suffer obesity for different reasons; and it is very hard to lose weight for most of them. I believe that obesity is heavily medicalized in the US for different reasons; first in the US culture most people rely on fast food which is faster, easier, and tastier than buying vegetables and healthy food; another reason is that fast food is more affordable to most people. Second, most people don’t lose weight easily, and most of these people don’t like to work hard to lose weight, or they have a busy schedule that makes it hard for them to go to the gym and exercise. The forces that made obesity an illness or a condition that requires medical intervention is the fact that it causes a number of series illnesses like diabetes, and heart diseases, all of which increase the rate of morbidity and mortality. Another reason is that most insurance companies offer to cover most of weight loss surgeries and programs, which is a way of declaring the acceptance of obesity as an illness in the US. As was explained in the Conrad article; “Medicalization is usually a product of collective action, rather than a result of medical imperialism” (Conrad 1992).

Link to Atkins commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FH_uoVKagfM

Here is the media analysis for Atkins diet commercial. The advertising strategy is to present a woman who used to be 180 Ibs and lost 50 Ibs in only three months; it attracts the viewers by presenting the numbers first to get their attentions. The cultural values and ideologies in this commercial is presented by showing the same woman after she lost her weight, they showed her figure which what every woman wants to have in US culture. The social roles are to demonstrate how she can eat tasty food and lose weight at the same time; she also explained that she does not crave anymore. The presentation of medical information in this commercial is by having the women present her own feelings when she followed the Atkins diet, she is now confident, having energy, and much healthier. There is no doctor patient interaction, which is the point in this commercial; the ad shows the viewer that they can lose weight without having to go to doctors or do any surgeries.

2 thoughts on “Obesity

  1. I completely agree with the fact that obesity is extremely prevalent in the United States due to fast food, lack of time for exercise and lack of motivation to live a healthy lifestyle. Just looking on the street you can tell that obesity is a major problem just about everywhere in the United States. Every time I turn on the TV there is at least one weight loss type commercial on, many times Atkins like you said or Weight Watchers, South Beach, or Slim Fast just to name a few. There are so many “quick fixes” out there for people to use it is no wonder that no one wants to take the time to do it the old fashioned way. This is evident in the Conrad article because it showed that medicalization is a combination of things like seeing commercials, going to a doctor, and also taking medication to fix your problems, but there isn’t much prevention in our culture.
    Our lifestyles in the United States are usually completely overwhelmed because we schedule so many things within our days. There are high expectations in this country to get things done as fast as possible and so eating healthy and exercising gets put on the back burner for most people; especially when the fast food tastes so good. We are so quick to take pills for our problems and obesity is no different. This is presented in the film “Pill Poppers” because it shows how people take pills for everything, and they end up taking ridiculous amounts daily. If there’s a pill or a certain brand that claims to make you lose weight, you can bet that people are going to buy it. Just like in the “Medicalization of Menstruation” lecture says, people see a commercial for something that makes you think that you have an actual problem that needs fixing and the medicine they are offering is the solution. Sometimes people do not need the medication at all but they are being told they are abnormal and so they think they need to change. In the case of obesity, this thought process can even lead to eating disorders because people think they are obese when they are actually a healthy weight.

  2. I agree that obesity has become so prevalent in our society that it has led to the medicalization of it. It is so unfortunate that eating healthy is not more affordable to everyone or that eating healthy is a foreign concept to some. Some people do not know the first thing about a balanced diet which has led to this major issue in our culture today. With this advertisement it does not talk about the health of the woman but just her weight. In American culture it is all about how someone looks and less about their health, as long as you look great on the outside that is all that matters. I would say that the presentation of medical information was just not presented in the commercial. The woman was able to say she could eat yummy food AND lose weight, she made it seem so easy, that the consumer would not have to change their lifestyle and still lose weight. Never once did they touch on how the woman’s health was in respect to diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol and so forth. Unfortunately looks can be deceiving and just because you are thin does not mean you are healthy. I think that in the United States we are always looking for an easy out and the Atkins diet really appeals to people for this reason

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