Promotion of Obesity: A Harsh Reality
by Hanafian on February 10, 2015 - 12:14pm
***Disclaimer: I am, in no shape or form, promoting the bashing of people who suffer from obesity, or those who have insecurities about their bodies. My aim is to provide a factual and ethical view of what needs to be done in order to reduce and prevent obesity. ***
Obesity is a problem that is unfortunately faced by much of North America. Firstly, one must define obesity – according to the Harvard School of Public Health, obesity is described as having an extremely large amount of excess body fat that can cause serious health problems (2012). Though obesity itself is not so much a topic of controversy, it is what “promotes” obesity that causes much debate.
One of the most common topics that heavily relates to the promotion of obesity is the fast food industry, which is growing alarmingly quickly. There are so many advertisements for restaurants such as McDonalds – whether it is from billboards, radio advertisements, television commercials or in magazines, McDonalds is essentially promoting their food which is known to be extremely unhealthy. Would banning the advertisement of fast-food ads be effective? From a teleological perspective, it would definitely make a difference. This type of ethical analysis preaches that actions should produce the greatest amount of happiness and the smallest amount of displeasure. In the long-run, if these fast-food ads were to be banned, people would be happier with not being overweight, and have successfully avoided the literal pain that comes with the health-issues related to obesity. Teleology also looks at results that came about from past-experiences. A major example of this would be the removal of cigarette advertisements, especially in corner-stores. This was done in order to reduce the amount of people who smoke cigarettes, and from a macro-perspective, the amount of people who will suffer from diseases in the lungs. Perhaps, just like cigarette boxes that advertise the negative effects of smoking cigarettes, Happy Meal and Big Mac cartons could have advertisements of the negative side-effects of eating too much McDonalds. It may seem farfetched, but it is just a thought.
Another topic that perhaps would cause more controversy (and I apologize in advance) is that the ads that teach people to “accept their image”, despite being obese, should be altered. Before you get extremely frustrated, hear me out. I do believe that people should not hate themselves and their bodies – however, I do not agree that they should simply “accept” it either. Yes, you should be able to accept that everyone is different, that one may be bigger than other people, but you should also accept that there may be room for starting a healthier lifestyle. From a teleological perspective, the greatest happiness that can be achieved in this scenario is weight-loss and a healthy lifestyle. The pain that will be reduced is the pain associated with being obese and having severe health issues, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. My solution to this problem would be to have advertisements that promote active lifestyle, which includes but is not limited to a healthy diet and regular physical activity. These commercials could replace the ones that essentially promote that people should continue with their lifestyle, regardless of how unhealthy it may be. In the long-run, everyone wants sustainable happiness – how can this be done when you are more at risk to have health issues?
"Obesity Definition." Harvard School of Public Health. 20 Oct. 2012. Web. 09 Feb. 2015.