Obesity – A Disease?

Obesity is biomedicalized in U.S. culture because mass media has become overly obsessed by it and now it is in the realm of a disease, disorder, something that has to be fixed. Consumers are preoccupied with it and concerned about it.  They want to take a pill, have surgery, do whatever it takes to alleviate the problem.  In the lecture, it was stated that biomedicalization is concerned with enhancement of bodies even if it means medical intervention. http://www.obesitycures.com/

Even the website address implies it is something that has to be “cured”. It gives you strategies to lose weight, 101 tips on what you can do to achieve a satisfactory weight loss. There is a presense of medical information, they talk about health disparities. They discuss the psychological reasons for obesity and mention experts (or so they say) in the field of obesity. They even discuss homeopathy, herbs, prescriptions for weight loss and bypass surgery for the extremely obese. They tell us we live in a society based on appearance, they talk to us as if they need inform us of these things and it is news to us.  They name celebrities that have been helped and even promote these celebrities diets and their books. These advertisements try to appeal to your sensibilities by acting like they are giving you the tools to make your own decision regarding the best way to go about losing weight. Another part of their ad is disturbing, they appeal to Hispanic and Latino obesity as if these particular nationalities have more of a problem with obesity. 

They also show a doctor’s stethoscope in the corner of the ad as if to say that doctor’s recommend their methods and they are endorsed by physicians.  There is also a cross next to the stethoscope perhaps symbolizing a physician recommendation.



2 thoughts on “Obesity – A Disease?

  1. I think the difference with this website is exactly that, it is a website. It is not just an advertisement. They are not trying to sell you anything. While it is true that the website treats obesity like an illness, it is not trying to force you to lose weight, it seems like it is trying to inform people of the good and bad things about different weight loss methods. So it seems to me like the website is for people looking for a way to lose weight.
    Medications in American society are used to treat just about everything. Such as with the case with obesity; people take weight loss pills as a quick fix to their obesity. This shows that our society is lazy but also that it is harsh to those who are different in some way. So these weight loss pills that are on the market target those people who are overweight because they are seen as different and unhealthy. Now that there are drugs and surgeries to help manage and lower people’s weight, obesity is seen as a medical problem, and in some instances it is more acceptable to be overweight because it is a “medical condition”. In the film “Pill Poppers”, when they are talking about anti-depressants, they talk about how being depressed was only socially acceptable once there was a viable way to treat it. Meaning, that people who had depression were not showing symptoms of it while taking drugs, and so they were no longer seen as different. Just as people that are obese are no longer seen as different after they lose weight using drugs or surgery.

  2. I agree with your overall assessment with the website, thought I a have a few comments to make about it. The aspects you mentioned were correct concerning the topics that they touch on, but I might also add that this seems to be just a website and not an advertisement for a pharmaceutical drug. Either way it still provides information and discusses issues related to obesity. One other concern that I have is that I also noticed the part of the website that discusses the Hispanic ethnicity and its connection to obesity. The CDC has conducted multiple studies concerning the prevalence of obesity in relation to demographic statistics such as age, race and ethnicity. Latinos and Hispanics do indeed have a higher prevalence of obesity than other groups so it would seem intuitive to combat this health disparity by drawing particular attention to it directly. This condition is on the rise of being considered an illness, more so than just a decade ago. If there was an one-stop treatment method, or a pill that could be taken to “cure” obesity, it would most definitely be labeled a disease without any question. This ability to associate a pill with a disease is inherent in the categorization of a condition as a disease as we have seen in our materials this week.

    Below is a link to a page the CDC provides about the prevalence of obesity if you wanted to take a look.


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