Health and Illness in the Media

Presenter Information

Carly Babel, Providence College

Location

Harkins 300, Providence College

Event Website

http://www.providence.edu/hpm/Pages/Conference.aspx

Start Date

31-3-2012 10:00 AM

End Date

31-3-2012 11:15 AM

Description

Obesity is America’s number one leading health epidemic, affecting more than 93 million Americans today (OAC). From 1985 to 2010, obesity has gone from affecting an average of 10% of individuals in just about every state to today affecting 33.8% of people within each state. Children and adults alike all over the U.S. are being diagnosed with obesity and encouraged to change their lifestyles. Doctors are prescribing patients to lose weight, exercise, eat healthy, and in extreme cases, go under the knife, but none of these recommendations are making a dent in lowering the rate of obesity. Rather, the number of people who are obese in the United States is steadily increasing at an alarming rate. But why? Many people like to blame the individual who is battling the obesity disease for not making a change, but it goes beyond self-control and will power; obesity is a psychological disease and physical battle that has individuals struggling to re-invent their lives. With obesity at large, media outlets have become consumed with this epidemic and to make a profit in anyway on our weighty obsession, focusing their attention on broadcasting more weight-loss programs to influence viewers who identify themselves as overweight to lose weight in sake of their life and future. Yet, as the media has increased their attention towards this issue, they seem to have only encouraged more ridicule of overweight individuals and their struggles. Reality shows like The Biggest Loser and MTV’s Fat Camp, and cartoon series like The Simpsons and Family Guy, are four prime examples of how media attention towards obese individuals have taken a turn for the worse. All four shows have, at one point or another, come to show the obese in a negative light, either as being lazy, lacking will power, being made fun, unattractive, or in denial. Instead of helping them in their journey towards a healthier life, these television series are exploiting them. Because our culture so heavily revolves around television, by restructuring how we portray obesity on TV, we can make a small indent of change.

 
Mar 31st, 10:00 AM Mar 31st, 11:15 AM

Busting a Gut: Portrayals of Obesity in Popular Culture

Harkins 300, Providence College

Obesity is America’s number one leading health epidemic, affecting more than 93 million Americans today (OAC). From 1985 to 2010, obesity has gone from affecting an average of 10% of individuals in just about every state to today affecting 33.8% of people within each state. Children and adults alike all over the U.S. are being diagnosed with obesity and encouraged to change their lifestyles. Doctors are prescribing patients to lose weight, exercise, eat healthy, and in extreme cases, go under the knife, but none of these recommendations are making a dent in lowering the rate of obesity. Rather, the number of people who are obese in the United States is steadily increasing at an alarming rate. But why? Many people like to blame the individual who is battling the obesity disease for not making a change, but it goes beyond self-control and will power; obesity is a psychological disease and physical battle that has individuals struggling to re-invent their lives. With obesity at large, media outlets have become consumed with this epidemic and to make a profit in anyway on our weighty obsession, focusing their attention on broadcasting more weight-loss programs to influence viewers who identify themselves as overweight to lose weight in sake of their life and future. Yet, as the media has increased their attention towards this issue, they seem to have only encouraged more ridicule of overweight individuals and their struggles. Reality shows like The Biggest Loser and MTV’s Fat Camp, and cartoon series like The Simpsons and Family Guy, are four prime examples of how media attention towards obese individuals have taken a turn for the worse. All four shows have, at one point or another, come to show the obese in a negative light, either as being lazy, lacking will power, being made fun, unattractive, or in denial. Instead of helping them in their journey towards a healthier life, these television series are exploiting them. Because our culture so heavily revolves around television, by restructuring how we portray obesity on TV, we can make a small indent of change.

http://digitalcommons.providence.edu/auchs/2012/panela1/2