Obesity

The role of medications in American society is a large one (no pun intended).  “Over the course of your lifetime, you will be prescribed 14,000 pills…” (Pill Poppers) Medication not only keeps us healthy longer, but it gets us healthy quicker. This is important to note because it goes right along with how American society acts, we like things fast. Fast foods, fast cars, fast routes, fast everything! So, why not fast medicine?

In fact, when dealing with things such as obesity as a disease, fast is incredibly important. People don’t want to exercise, eat right, and lose the weight the correct, natural, and slow way. They want a dietary supplement that’s going to help them shed weight FAST! This is what Hydroxycut, a dietary supplement drug, promises us in their advertisements: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofA2sm5zbCk.

Hydroxycut uses many different advertising techniques in this particular ad.  They tell us directly that you’ll lose weight fast! They also show us the results of some of their users, with really big bold print telling us how many pounds they’ve lost. For instance, Ashley from Minnesota lost 47 lbs! Ashley is now a very slender, attractive young woman that is dressed to definitely show off her figure. Showing us Ashley’s results makes us believe that Hydroxycut will also give us these results! Also, by showing Ashley’s new sexy body, it makes us desire to be like her.

The cultural values and social roles demonstrated here are just as I said. We want things to happen FAST! So, we think by watching this ad we’re going to drop 47 pounds fast.  It also goes with the principle of “sex sells” in America.  Hydroxycut shows us the results of the people that took the pill by showing us their slim, sexy bodies and making us want to look like that too. In our culture, the smaller the sexier. At one point towards the end of the commercial, the actress even says “I feel beautiful” signifying that she was not considered beautiful before she lost the weight by taking the pill.

The medical information presented by Hydroxycut is completely absent.  This particular ad does not tell us how Hydroxycut works, the side effects of taking the drug, or anything about it medically at all! In fact, they don’t even mention to consult your physician before use, or to discontinue use if you drop 10 pounds in 10 days like a lot of dietary drugs do.  Those facts make me think that this ad was not ran as a television commercial, but still is potentially dangerous.

Lastly, the advertisement cuts back on doctor, patient interactions completely.  Hydroxycut is available without a prescription, therefore you don’t even need to consult your doctor before taking it.  Hydroxycut could have a specific component that your doctor knows you should not be intaking, yet they could never warn you about it without consultation.  Hydroxycut may also not address all of the issues of WHY you’re gaining weight, including hormone imbalances or thyroid problems, and could camouflage a deeper problem that your physician could have addressed.

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