Essay 3, obesity

Essay 3, obesity - Mark Mallozzi Tuesday UW20 Telling...

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Mark Mallozzi Tuesday, April 05, 2011 UW20: Telling Truths; Making Mythologies The Nutritional Value of Society American media is largely representative of cultural views in many aspects of society. The issue of obesity is no different. What is most intriguing about the media’s coverage and portrayal of obesity though is how critical it has become. Americans are overweight as whole, there is no denying that, but if that is the case, how can a society made of mostly overweight individuals have such a negative connotation of people who are overweight? Advertisements for quick fix diet supplements, gym memberships and dieting routines can constantly be seen on television, in print, even on the radio, and they all share something in common. These advertisements play right into the stigma that comes with being overweight. The message that is portrayed here is not that they are selling some way for a person to lose weight, but a way for that person to change the way others view them entirely. More often than not commercials for products like these will use words like “unwanted fat” and “beach body” as they show testimonials from alleged users that claim to have turned their life around by using this product. What these ads are really doing is telling people that being overweight is unacceptable and showing them how they should want to look by posting a model sporting the “beach body” that should apparently be the goal of all Americans. These messages are not solely found in advertisements either as this shaming of those who are considered overweight can be seen throughout American media and is having adverse effects on these members of society. This stigmatization often goes too far though and not only places judgment on a person’s weight but rather the person themselves. Heritage, the environment, lifestyle choices, mental health and even mere chance can play a role in someone’s condition. Health can change as quickly too. From year-to-year, day-to-day, or even within an hour someone’s health can be drastically different. Yet, in a practical application, little attention is often given to the whole
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Mallozzi picture by Americans. Instead American culture emphasizes the importance of an individual’s appearance, especially their weight. A person’s weight can completely define them within American society. In a countryt that stigmatizes obesity to this extent, the number of Americans that are overweight is even more astounding. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines obesity as a person having a Body Mass Index (BMI) (which is essentially a measurement of body fat) of 30 or greater. This equates to a person 5’ 9” weighing around 203 pounds. They further classify people with a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9, the equivalent of a 169-202 pound person at 5’9”, as being overweight but not obese. In contrast, a person of healthy weight is considered to maintain a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9, or 125 and 168 pounds if they are 5’ 9”. Using these parameters the CDC found that in
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Essay 3, obesity - Mark Mallozzi Tuesday UW20 Telling...

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