W5 Activity: Obesity

Medications seem to be the cure for everything in today’s society. In terms of medicalization, medications are used to basically help treat things that aren’t actually medical conditions such as acne or menstruation. The article written by Peter Conrad and Debroah Potter joked that conditions with wide boundaries such as ADHD, “allows a patient to find a biological cause that is not always reasonable, for job failure, divorce, poor motivation, lack of success, and chronic depression”. All the things previously mentioned are not real medical conditions that need to be treated with medication but definitely can be. In terms of biomedicalization, social problems are “turned into” medical conditions based on a change of opinion or viewpoint. An example of this can be taken from the same article focusing on ADHD. This condition was once thought to be something only children experience but with the help of self-diagnosed patients, media coverage and some more research, it made sense that adults could also experience ADHD. It made sense to medical professionals that if an adult experienced the same symptoms as children with ADHD do, then it is actually possible they experience the same condition so viewpoints needed to be changed to accept this. These examples tell us that in today’s society, it is believed that medication can be used to solve all our problems and get us back to the perfect health to allow us to be efficient and successful.

A condition that I feel is heavily medicalized in our society is obesity. Every single time I turn on the television I swear I hear advertisements for the latest and greatest pill to make the weight disappear! I found a commercial regarding the pill called Belviq. The commercial makes it appear that being overweight is depressing and stressful with three individuals not knowing if they are full or if they have enough food on their plates. Later in the commercial it shows the same people at a party, in yoga or playing with their dog which makes it seem like life is depressing and not so great when you have extra weight but really fun and worth living when you don’t. In this commercial the cultural values and ideologies are focused around losing weight to have a more exciting life where more activities are possible and enjoyable. It also illustrates that people are more likely to engage with you if you aren’t overweight because socially it’s more acceptable to be skinnier. The medical information presented in this commercial was very lecture-like where exactly half the time was spent listing off all of the potential side effects or warnings of this medication. This information was presented with the pleasant images of people partying or playing with their dog rolled across the screen so that people would focus less on what was being said and more on what was being seen. In my personal opinion, this was probably the objective because almost everything they said was negative and would convince people not to take the drug if they listened. Also, one of the very last things mentioned in the commercial was that Belviq MAY help you lose weight and keep it off where in the beginning it said it could help along with diet and exercise. Lastly, this commercial didn’t show any doctor-patient interactions but all the possible symptoms and warnings were followed with, “talk to your doctor”.

(Sorry! WordPress refused to let me just have a link so here is the commercial)

One thought on “W5 Activity: Obesity

  1. I loved this post. You were very thorough and I definitely agree with obesity being over medicalized. This is a condition that many of our citizens face. It can be treated by just eating right and exercising. Everyone is trying to go for one look now and that’s flat stomach, nice boobs, and nice bottom. I believe everyone should be comfortable in their skin but be healthy.

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