Obesity

I believe that obesity has been medicalized in U.S. culture as a result of profit-centered weight loss related items. The weight loss industry is worth $60.9 Billion in the U.S alone. (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/5/prweb8393658.htm) I believe that obesity has been medicalized largely due to the economic influence of the weight loss industry that has cropped up since the rise of obesity. However, this industry would not be possible without the ‘quick-fix’ culture of the U.S., where we expect to receive results that are disproportionate to the effort that we put towards those results. While there are always exceptions, I believe that the vast majority of individuals with obesity have it because they lead sedentary lives and eat unhealthy food.

 

http://www.youtube.com/user/RocaLabs?v=c_g3MUgzTFk&feature=pyv&ad=7578636244&kw=losing%20weight

The ad I found is for a diet supplement which is eligible for a health insurance discount. Essentially the product is made up of excess dietary fiber, with the intent that the sheer volume of it once expanded(Wikipedia has a decent article on the actions of dietary fiber in the intestinal tract) will physically prevent you from excess eating while also making you feel like you’re full.

Advertising Strategy: It is primarily marketed as an alternative to gastric bypass surgery. It is also marketed as requiring little effort from the patient; they claim that when taking this supplement you will feel full after eating only half of what you would normally eat, allowing you to maintain a calorie-deficient diet without having to feel hungry. At the end of the advertisement they also mention that it contains beta-glucan and that you wouldn’t have that advantage if you had surgery.

Cultural Values and Ideologies: This ad exemplifies the quick-fix mentality we too often hold in the U.S. They essentially market the supplement as controlling your cravings so you don’t have to. Emphasis is placed on the fact that you will eat less without having to feel hungry, and that it lowers your cravings for food. Instead of altering their calorie rich, nutrient poor diet, this supplement claims that individuals will lose weight without having to make any changes to their lifestyle.

Social Roles: The ad is pitched by a physically attractive woman, who speaks in an enthusiastic and friendly tone. The company wants to be viewed as a friend providing you with an awesome method for safely losing weight. The cost of the supplement is downplayed throughout the ad, they mention that it is $480 and compare that price to an $8,000 surgery, but fail to mention how long $480 worth will last. (Looking through their website (https://www.rocalabs.com/en/), it appears that $480 is for a four-month supply.)

Presentation of Medical Information: I did not see any information presented in the ad which I would consider to be medically validated, as they did not provide any tangible data with which to support their claims.

Doctor-patient interactions: None are presented, as this is a diet supplement marketed directly to the consumer by the company which manufactures it.

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