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Author Topic: Obesity debates in television news  (Read 5655 times)

Offline Matt Emery

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Obesity debates in television news
« on: March 20, 2008, 04:16:49 AM »
From the The Medical Journal of Australia

Objective:
To examine whether television news and current affairs coverage of overweight and obesity frames obesity in ways that support or oppose efforts to combat obesity.

Conclusions:
While individual lifestyle is crucial to controlling weight, the research community now recognises the importance of sociocultural and environmental factors as drivers of the obesity epidemic. However, television news portrays obesity largely as an individual problem with individual solutions centred mostly on nutrition. Media emphasis on personal responsibility and diet may detract attention from the sociopolitical and structural changes needed to tackle overweight and obesity at a population level.

Results:
Within the 50 television items, a total of 256 solutions to overweight and obesity were presented. The most common single solution (18.8% of total solutions) was a healthier diet. Two-thirds of dietary solutions made no mention of physical activity. Ten per cent of solutions advised following special diets. Just over 6% of solutions advised reducing the intake of soft or sweet drinks, alcohol and fatty coffee drinks. Eating less overall made up only 5.5% of solutions, almost 3% called on parents to be better diet role models, and 1.5% suggested reducing portion sizes.

Surprisingly, controversial proposals to curb advertising of foods with high fat and sugar contents to children — an approach championed by Australian health organisations, but so far rejected by the Australian Government and industry — were rarely mentioned. Reducing intake of calories in drinks and cutting back on sedentary pursuits were also neglected, making up less than 8% and 2% of solutions, respectively.

Medical and surgical solutions made up 9.8% of the solutions proffered. These included a stomach “pacemaker” to tell the brain the stomach is full, lapband surgery, liposuction, and an anti-hunger spray.

... end .....

Download a PDF file of the full report below.
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Offline Seeker

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Re: Obesity debates in television news
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2008, 02:05:55 PM »
It all makes me mad, truth be told. As per usual the quick fix medical and pharmaceutical solutions are being touted ahead of anything requiring effort, work and discipline. Is it any wonder we are crumbling as a society? Don't worry though, I hear they are making a pill to fix that too.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2008, 02:40:34 PM by Seeker »

Offline Phanatic

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Re: Obesity debates in television news
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2008, 04:01:58 PM »
It's really funny that scientists are always saying how they're finding the obesity gene, doing more research etc...
My parents tell me there were almost no fat kids at their school back in the 50s. And our genes have been the same since paleolithic times.
Good luck finding that obesity gene guys, I think I'll just eat sensibly in the mean time....

Offline Matt Emery

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Re: Obesity debates in television news
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2008, 11:32:58 PM »
I think somebody should invent an exercise bike that provides household electricity.

Even though it wouldn't save a great deal of resources or cash, it could provide an incentive for people to do more exercise.  Because effectively, they would be exercising for money   :P
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Offline Seeker

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Re: Obesity debates in television news
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2008, 12:14:13 AM »
I think somebody should invent an exercise bike that provides household electricity.

Even though it wouldn't save a great deal of resources or cash, it could provide an incentive for people to do more exercise.  Because effectively, they would be exercising for money   :P

It's more of a reality then you think! It's only a matter of time before it makes it's way into household gym equipment.

http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/03/08/human-powered-gyms-in-hong-kong/

Offline Matt Emery

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Re: Obesity debates in television news
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2008, 12:18:42 AM »
Excellent - using the power of consumerism to get people healthy.  What a refreshing irony  ;D
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Offline kfarmer

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Re: Obesity debates in television news
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2009, 12:40:14 AM »
I think somebody should invent an exercise bike that provides household electricity.

Even though it wouldn't save a great deal of resources or cash, it could provide an incentive for people to do more exercise.  Because effectively, they would be exercising for money   :P

I recall seeing them about twenty years ago :)

Offline kfarmer

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Re: Obesity debates in television news
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2009, 12:50:35 AM »
It all makes me mad, truth be told. As per usual the quick fix medical and pharmaceutical solutions are being touted ahead of anything requiring effort, work and discipline. Is it any wonder we are crumbling as a society? Don't worry though, I hear they are making a pill to fix that too.

If by "quick fix" you mean weight loss surgery, you seem to have a completely wrong impression of the amount of effort, work, and discipline it takes to make the surgery work. 

All the surgery does is act as a training device.  Depending on the type of surgery, it makes overeating, or eating sweets/alcohols, hurt, and hurt bad:  vomitting, diarrhea, cramps .. all can be very effective.  Eligibility for surgery typically involves excessive weight (BMI > 40, or BMI > 35 plus comorbidities such as heart or liver problems, apnea, and the like), as well as psychological and endocrinological screenings to ensure that, not only is there no underlying disorder (eg, Cushing's syndrome), but that the patient is mentally fit to make the changes necessary.  It is possible to subvert any surgery, and not all surgeries are suitable for all patients, and some patients are not suitable for any surgery.  If you see a successful WLS patient, you're seeing someone who's worked very hard, and is probably more disciplined than you are about managing food and exercise.

The fact is that losing weight is generally easy.  Keeping it off is where the problem typically lies, and it's precisely that problem that most morbidly obese people have had problems with -- many have *already* done the diet+exercise thing, sometimes many times.

So, with all due respect, if that is what you meant, you should do a bit more research before you pass judgement.