Obesity becomes more and more of a problem in the U.S. everyday, some even saying the condition has reached an epidemic level. Culturally, we live in communities that often do not have access to healthy foods and living the busy lifestlye many Americans live today often resort to fast- food instead. This is where the problems begin; as our youth consumes foods that are often very poor for their health. The government and health professionals all over the country have been trying to inform Americans of the risks associatied with obesity, including things like heart disease and high blood pressure. Biomedically, there are a few options for those suffering from the condition. These options may include changes in diet, surgery, or possibly even medications, such as diet pills. An example of a surgery could include something like gastric “lap” banding.

Although diet pills can be a controversial subject, an example of one brand is “Hydroxycut.” The advertisement I found calls the pill “America’s #1 SELLING Weight- Loss Supplement,” and has a woman posing in a bikini, claiming she lost “42 lbs. With Hydroxycut!” I would consider this advertisement to be a “direct- to- consumer advertisement, where a skinny woman in a bikini is attesting to the product. This is so people will buy the product or switch from another product to theirs. In the U.S, being skinny is a positive attribute, so the image is used to draw people in. She is an atractive woman and when other American women see the picture they think that they should look her. There are two small boxes at the bottom of the advertisement that discuss medical facts, and a quote from a doctor recommending the product after “reviewing the studies of the clinically proven ingredients.” The medical information provided is a graph from the clinical study proving that Hydroxycut has “proven key ingredients” to provide powerful weightloss. The key ingredients of the product are then listed in very small font at the very bottom of the page. Overall, I believe many Americans would believe that Hydroxycut accelerates weightloss, but personally believe they have more of a placebo like effect.





3 thoughts on “Obesity

  1. I definitely agree with this post and the type of advertising. Obesity is a huge problem in American with many statistics being very scary to think about. The lifestyle of Americans is definitely laid back. We have access to a lot of convenient foods that other people do not, and with people’s busy schedules they no longer find time to cook meals. I think that some people might believe hydroxycut would work, but honestly the commercials are the cheesiest weight loss commercials I have ever seen, so it’s hard to tell. I think the role of medications in the United States are thought of as ‘fix alls.’ No one thinks they have to work hard to reach their goal of weight loss because there are so many pills and programs that will do all the work for them. I think thats a big reason why America is seen as the fat country because we literally have a medicine for everything, and if we don’t I bet pharmaceutical companies are already in the process. It puts out the image that we don’t care about our bodies or our health, and just want to ease through life without having to work hard for anything.

  2. I agree with your analysis of the advertisement. The ad is very direct. Essentially, take Hydroxycut and you will lose weight and be able to wear that bikini just in time for summer. I believe you considered most of what I thought about the ad, however your placebo effect statement was interesting. I don’t think the placebo effect would apply here well because I don’t believe weight loss can just occur without some form of direct action. For example, working out, eating healthy and taking a pill that speeds up your metabolism would all potentially affect weight loss. Believing you are losing weight because you are taking a pill will not induce weight loss.
    In my opinion, the U.S. is overmedicalized for all the wrong reasons. Allowing profit to essentially run healthcare is the fundamental issue in my opinion. Healthcare is obviously big business. This is where our society falls short in terms of humanity. In terms of our cultural values and ideologies, overmedicalization indicates that as a society we are always looking for a quick fix. I believe we must begin to look at preventive medicine in far more detail than we have been. There has been a shift in some realms but nowhere near the necessary amount. We have a distorted view of success in terms of health as a culture. If we truly valued our well being, I believe we would work less, enjoy life more, and reduce stress levels by all means.

  3. Obesity is a huge problem in the U.S.. I do agree it has reached epidemic levels, however, I wouldn’t necessarily say it is a “cultural” thing to not have access to healthy foods. It’s not accepted as a normal thing to not have close access to health food stores and super markets only because there really are no other options for many people. In context to obesity, medication and surgical procedures seem to be the big answer for many people. Not to say that there aren’t people who eat healthy and regularly exercise to keep themselves fit. However, there are still many who want to take an easier route.

    In western influenced cultures, not being “thin” has a bad stigma. Instinctually, many people would look at a thin and slender women and assume she is healthy because that is the perceived notion of “good health” in western societies. Ever knew someone that ate whatever they wanted, when they wanted and was stick skinny? If there was the ability to see how fat someone was from their insides and not the outside, people would be judged a lot more different. Since that option does not exist right now, there is no other way that people perceive this sort of judgment. For example, if one obese person and one average sized person applied for the same job with the same qualifications, who do you think would get hired? Good health in western societies is heavily associated with outer appearances and especially weight. Due to this, many people will go through all options and medicating themselves to help “treat” their obesity.

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