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We're not responsible for being obese?

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  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 933Member Member Posts: 933Member Member
    If you want to lose weight or stay fit, there's no way around it but individual responsibility, so that's why it's an important thing to focus on. Can a particular set of circumstances make it harder or easier or an environment make it harder or easier? Sure, but you can only control what you can control, and that's individual responsibility. (And it's sufficient to avoid being overweight.)

    If we were talking about "what can be done to reduce societal obesity," that would be a different conversation (although I don't think there are too many good answers, sadly).
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 933Member Member Posts: 933Member Member
    leiflung wrote: »
    Not to mention advertising. You pass a jar of candy, sure. But, if you watch any television or listen to radio or go online, you get a bajillion messages that coke is happiness, burgers are joy, you WANT THAT CANDY YOU WANT IT EAT IT! Then you feel terrible and you are now conditioned to think the candy will help.

    People probably watch fewer ads now, and should also be more sensitized to how they work. I never see TV ads. My eyes skip over internet ads. Main place I see ads is probably on public transportation (where they have a lot of ads for food delivery apps these days, more on this below).

    In any case, figuring out how to deal with ads and other things -- like just seeing restaurants or food when shopping -- is part of personal responsibility. When I quit drinking I'd see wine shops (I was into wine) and pubs and wine lists and wine in the grocery store and ads and people drinking on TV and so on and it was a little triggering sometimes but I had to figure out how to deal with it. Same thing here.

    I think the power of ads is tiny compared to just cultural things like food being cheap, easy to grab in prepared form (food delivery is so much more varied and easy than it used to be), a source of entertainment or venue for socializing, always around in many workplaces, so on. I think we eat more than we used to not because of ads, but because it's so easy. Just start eating only home cooked from whole foods except on rare occasion, and it gets much harder to do. That's what people used to do, and the cooking was a longer and harder process too.

    Beyond that, I'll say it again, complaining about all this doesn't make you thinner. The only things that make you thinner are those things you have personal responsibility over, so focusing on personal responsibility seems sensible to me.
    It is up to each individual to hold themselves accountable for what they put into their body and it is up to all of us as a society to try to understand why we have a health crisis on our hands that is adversely affecting mortality and quality of life. I believe both of these things can be true simultaneously.

    I agree with this, but I don't believe it's because of advertising.

    I got fat and yet was rarely interested in the kinds of food advertised -- I didn't eat fast food, didn't eat chips or candy, so on. We have a culture that makes it easy to overeat and human nature makes it easy to overeat -- when food is around we tend to want it (not everyone, but a lot of us). We find food appealing, often food that is higher in calories especially.

    So it's hard to figure out what to do about it.
    edited January 4
  • leiflungleiflung Posts: 44Member Member Posts: 44Member Member
    mph323 wrote: »
    leiflung wrote: »
    wmd1979 wrote: »
    leiflung wrote: »
    Zodikosis wrote: »
    Your brain saves you the energy of having to make a million decisions every day by automating... Will power is a muscle, and a relatively small one at that. It gets tired. Don't put yourself in situations where you'll probably make a bad choice and hope will power gets you out of it.

    I agree. I feel that decision making muscle weaken as the day or week wears on—if I leave a jar of candy on my counter I have to see it and consciously make the decision to pass it by every time I walk by. I’m a SAHM, so that’s about a bajillion times a day. By the end of a long day, what are the odds it doesn’t get opened? If the candy is up on the cabinet of rarely used pots, I don’t have to wear out my willpower. I think many people live in the first situation, either out of their own choice or bc of their environment (they work next to a donut shop, the guy in the next office has a candy dish outside the door, their work caters lunch a few times a week, etc). You watch a lot of tv, you’re always getting the message to treat yourself, you deserve it! Eventually you say, you know I did have a rough day. I deserve a little treat!

    Not to say you’re powerless, but you and those around you shaping your environment can make it easier or harder.

    I agree completely.

    Not to mention advertising. You pass a jar of candy, sure. But, if you watch any television or listen to radio or go online, you get a bajillion messages that coke is happiness, burgers are joy, you WANT THAT CANDY YOU WANT IT EAT IT! Then you feel terrible and you are now conditioned to think the candy will help.

    Not to mention how the food is designed to make you want to eat the largest volume possible.

    Sure, it's our responsibility to not get obese. But it's also true that corporations are spending billions of dollars to make that as difficult for you as humanly possible. And we don't have any organization spending billions to make it easier.

    Ignoring this is to laser focus on individual responsibility is bizarre to me.

    There is also tons of advertising money spent on fitness products, books, diets and gyms. Obviously, the object of spending money on advertising is to get people to buy your product, but I don't see any examples of corporations openly promoting obesity. It might seem bizarre to you to focus on individual responsibility, but in my opinion that absolutely should be the focus. It is up to each individual to hold themselves accountable for what they put into their body and not use advertising or "evil" corporations as an excuse.

    Just a quick search reveals that fitness and weight loss advertising is about 300 million a year in ads.
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/318776/fitness-diet-spa-ad-spend-medium/

    Food was about 192 billion a year in advertising.
    https://www.statista.com/topics/2223/food-advertising/

    I think that's a huge difference.

    What is bizarre to me is ignoring this, denying that it's a factor, especially considering we have a health crisis.

    Also, saying they aren't promoting obesity seems to miss the point. Cigarette companies didn't promote lung cancer. That wasn't why their ads were regulated.

    I didn't say ads were an excuse and I don't think corporations are evil. What I'm saying is more nuanced than that.

    It is up to each individual to hold themselves accountable for what they put into their body and it is up to all of us as a society to try to understand why we have a health crisis on our hands that is adversely affecting mortality and quality of life. I believe both of these things can be true simultaneously.

    I am going to be personally affected by the obesity problem we have. We all are. Most of us already are.

    I don't think getting on internet soap boxes about personal responsibility will help. I'm a stoic. If I want something, I try to make it happen. If there's a problem, I want to know what is causing it, what is contributing to it, what can be done to make it better.

    So, if it's about personal responsibility, how do we make people be responsible?

    2 of our last 4 presidents were significantly overweight. Say what you will about your dem/rep bad guy or whatever but I get the feeling that becoming president isn't something irresponsible people do. Don't you think it's possible there is something else going on as well?

    To the bolded, we don't. We teach children from a young age not to accept anything on face value. We teach them about advertising and social pressure. We teach them critical thinking. Then it's up to them.

    Okay, I could get behind this. Great. Let's arm the kids against the effects of advertising so they aren't so easily manipulated.

    So, presumably this isn't happening. How do we make it happen? Do we improve the school system?
  • mph323mph323 Posts: 2,986Member Member Posts: 2,986Member Member
    leiflung wrote: »
    mph323 wrote: »
    leiflung wrote: »
    wmd1979 wrote: »
    leiflung wrote: »
    Zodikosis wrote: »
    Your brain saves you the energy of having to make a million decisions every day by automating... Will power is a muscle, and a relatively small one at that. It gets tired. Don't put yourself in situations where you'll probably make a bad choice and hope will power gets you out of it.

    I agree. I feel that decision making muscle weaken as the day or week wears on—if I leave a jar of candy on my counter I have to see it and consciously make the decision to pass it by every time I walk by. I’m a SAHM, so that’s about a bajillion times a day. By the end of a long day, what are the odds it doesn’t get opened? If the candy is up on the cabinet of rarely used pots, I don’t have to wear out my willpower. I think many people live in the first situation, either out of their own choice or bc of their environment (they work next to a donut shop, the guy in the next office has a candy dish outside the door, their work caters lunch a few times a week, etc). You watch a lot of tv, you’re always getting the message to treat yourself, you deserve it! Eventually you say, you know I did have a rough day. I deserve a little treat!

    Not to say you’re powerless, but you and those around you shaping your environment can make it easier or harder.

    I agree completely.

    Not to mention advertising. You pass a jar of candy, sure. But, if you watch any television or listen to radio or go online, you get a bajillion messages that coke is happiness, burgers are joy, you WANT THAT CANDY YOU WANT IT EAT IT! Then you feel terrible and you are now conditioned to think the candy will help.

    Not to mention how the food is designed to make you want to eat the largest volume possible.

    Sure, it's our responsibility to not get obese. But it's also true that corporations are spending billions of dollars to make that as difficult for you as humanly possible. And we don't have any organization spending billions to make it easier.

    Ignoring this is to laser focus on individual responsibility is bizarre to me.

    There is also tons of advertising money spent on fitness products, books, diets and gyms. Obviously, the object of spending money on advertising is to get people to buy your product, but I don't see any examples of corporations openly promoting obesity. It might seem bizarre to you to focus on individual responsibility, but in my opinion that absolutely should be the focus. It is up to each individual to hold themselves accountable for what they put into their body and not use advertising or "evil" corporations as an excuse.

    Just a quick search reveals that fitness and weight loss advertising is about 300 million a year in ads.
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/318776/fitness-diet-spa-ad-spend-medium/

    Food was about 192 billion a year in advertising.
    https://www.statista.com/topics/2223/food-advertising/

    I think that's a huge difference.

    What is bizarre to me is ignoring this, denying that it's a factor, especially considering we have a health crisis.

    Also, saying they aren't promoting obesity seems to miss the point. Cigarette companies didn't promote lung cancer. That wasn't why their ads were regulated.

    I didn't say ads were an excuse and I don't think corporations are evil. What I'm saying is more nuanced than that.

    It is up to each individual to hold themselves accountable for what they put into their body and it is up to all of us as a society to try to understand why we have a health crisis on our hands that is adversely affecting mortality and quality of life. I believe both of these things can be true simultaneously.

    I am going to be personally affected by the obesity problem we have. We all are. Most of us already are.

    I don't think getting on internet soap boxes about personal responsibility will help. I'm a stoic. If I want something, I try to make it happen. If there's a problem, I want to know what is causing it, what is contributing to it, what can be done to make it better.

    So, if it's about personal responsibility, how do we make people be responsible?

    2 of our last 4 presidents were significantly overweight. Say what you will about your dem/rep bad guy or whatever but I get the feeling that becoming president isn't something irresponsible people do. Don't you think it's possible there is something else going on as well?

    To the bolded, we don't. We teach children from a young age not to accept anything on face value. We teach them about advertising and social pressure. We teach them critical thinking. Then it's up to them.

    Okay, I could get behind this. Great. Let's arm the kids against the effects of advertising so they aren't so easily manipulated.

    So, presumably this isn't happening. How do we make it happen? Do we improve the school system?

    It won't happen until it becomes socially unacceptable to make decisions based on unvetted input. The cure is easy, the implementation is daunting.
  • adventuretravelleradventuretraveller Posts: 57Member Member Posts: 57Member Member
    Why does it matter who other people blame for their troubles? People who are ready to take responsibility will.

    well said man
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Posts: 933Member Member Posts: 933Member Member
    Also on the obesity is a problem because ads exist, ads are not new, they well predate obesity.

    I think it's that food is easily available and cheap and (for many people) we have no cultural restrictions on when and what we eat anymore.
  • CSARdiverCSARdiver Posts: 5,374Member Member Posts: 5,374Member Member
    leiflung wrote: »
    wmd1979 wrote: »
    leiflung wrote: »
    Zodikosis wrote: »
    Your brain saves you the energy of having to make a million decisions every day by automating... Will power is a muscle, and a relatively small one at that. It gets tired. Don't put yourself in situations where you'll probably make a bad choice and hope will power gets you out of it.

    I agree. I feel that decision making muscle weaken as the day or week wears on—if I leave a jar of candy on my counter I have to see it and consciously make the decision to pass it by every time I walk by. I’m a SAHM, so that’s about a bajillion times a day. By the end of a long day, what are the odds it doesn’t get opened? If the candy is up on the cabinet of rarely used pots, I don’t have to wear out my willpower. I think many people live in the first situation, either out of their own choice or bc of their environment (they work next to a donut shop, the guy in the next office has a candy dish outside the door, their work caters lunch a few times a week, etc). You watch a lot of tv, you’re always getting the message to treat yourself, you deserve it! Eventually you say, you know I did have a rough day. I deserve a little treat!

    Not to say you’re powerless, but you and those around you shaping your environment can make it easier or harder.

    I agree completely.

    Not to mention advertising. You pass a jar of candy, sure. But, if you watch any television or listen to radio or go online, you get a bajillion messages that coke is happiness, burgers are joy, you WANT THAT CANDY YOU WANT IT EAT IT! Then you feel terrible and you are now conditioned to think the candy will help.

    Not to mention how the food is designed to make you want to eat the largest volume possible.

    Sure, it's our responsibility to not get obese. But it's also true that corporations are spending billions of dollars to make that as difficult for you as humanly possible. And we don't have any organization spending billions to make it easier.

    Ignoring this is to laser focus on individual responsibility is bizarre to me.

    There is also tons of advertising money spent on fitness products, books, diets and gyms. Obviously, the object of spending money on advertising is to get people to buy your product, but I don't see any examples of corporations openly promoting obesity. It might seem bizarre to you to focus on individual responsibility, but in my opinion that absolutely should be the focus. It is up to each individual to hold themselves accountable for what they put into their body and not use advertising or "evil" corporations as an excuse.

    Just a quick search reveals that fitness and weight loss advertising is about 300 million a year in ads.
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/318776/fitness-diet-spa-ad-spend-medium/

    Food was about 192 billion a year in advertising.
    https://www.statista.com/topics/2223/food-advertising/

    I think that's a huge difference.

    What is bizarre to me is ignoring this, denying that it's a factor, especially considering we have a health crisis.

    Also, saying they aren't promoting obesity seems to miss the point. Cigarette companies didn't promote lung cancer. That wasn't why their ads were regulated.

    I didn't say ads were an excuse and I don't think corporations are evil. What I'm saying is more nuanced than that.

    It is up to each individual to hold themselves accountable for what they put into their body and it is up to all of us as a society to try to understand why we have a health crisis on our hands that is adversely affecting mortality and quality of life. I believe both of these things can be true simultaneously.

    I am going to be personally affected by the obesity problem we have. We all are. Most of us already are.

    I don't think getting on internet soap boxes about personal responsibility will help. I'm a stoic. If I want something, I try to make it happen. If there's a problem, I want to know what is causing it, what is contributing to it, what can be done to make it better.

    So, if it's about personal responsibility, how do we make people be responsible?


    2 of our last 4 presidents were significantly overweight. Say what you will about your dem/rep bad guy or whatever but I get the feeling that becoming president isn't something irresponsible people do. Don't you think it's possible there is something else going on as well?

    Responsibility is traditionally and effectively taught using the following methodology:

    Provide clear instructions
    Avoid doing things for people that they can do for themselves
    Ask instead of ordering
    Use consequences and rewards
    Provide ideal examples
  • gradchica27gradchica27 Posts: 423Member Member Posts: 423Member Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    leiflung wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    leiflung wrote: »
    Not to mention advertising. You pass a jar of candy, sure. But, if you watch any television or listen to radio or go online, you get a bajillion messages that coke is happiness, burgers are joy, you WANT THAT CANDY YOU WANT IT EAT IT! Then you feel terrible and you are now conditioned to think the candy will help.

    People probably watch fewer ads now, and should also be more sensitized to how they work. I never see TV ads. My eyes skip over internet ads. Main place I see ads is probably on public transportation (where they have a lot of ads for food delivery apps these days, more on this below).

    In any case, figuring out how to deal with ads and other things -- like just seeing restaurants or food when shopping -- is part of personal responsibility. When I quit drinking I'd see wine shops (I was into wine) and pubs and wine lists and wine in the grocery store and ads and people drinking on TV and so on and it was a little triggering sometimes but I had to figure out how to deal with it. Same thing here.

    I think the power of ads is tiny compared to just cultural things like food being cheap, easy to grab in prepared form (food delivery is so much more varied and easy than it used to be), a source of entertainment or venue for socializing, always around in many workplaces, so on. I think we eat more than we used to not because of ads, but because it's so easy. Just start eating only home cooked from whole foods except on rare occasion, and it gets much harder to do. That's what people used to do, and the cooking was a longer and harder process too.

    Beyond that, I'll say it again, complaining about all this doesn't make you thinner. The only things that make you thinner are those things you have personal responsibility over, so focusing on personal responsibility seems sensible to me.
    It is up to each individual to hold themselves accountable for what they put into their body and it is up to all of us as a society to try to understand why we have a health crisis on our hands that is adversely affecting mortality and quality of life. I believe both of these things can be true simultaneously.

    I agree with this, but I don't believe it's because of advertising.

    I got fat and yet was rarely interested in the kinds of food advertised -- I didn't eat fast food, didn't eat chips or candy, so on. We have a culture that makes it easy to overeat and human nature makes it easy to overeat -- when food is around we tend to want it (not everyone, but a lot of us). We find food appealing, often food that is higher in calories especially.

    So it's hard to figure out what to do about it.


    I find it impossible to believe that corporations are spending almost 200 billion on something that isn't having an effect.

    Outliers exist all over the place and anecdotal evidence is not convincing. Some corporations might spend recklessly but all food corporations spend massive amounts on ads. They do it for a reason.

    Corporations tend to invest in things that have the strong potential of a solid return.

    Sure, advertising works. But my time in MBA-school suggests that there's more nuance in this overall scenario.

    The very clear message in my marketing classes was that ideally you start by figuring out what the consumer really, really wants (not what they ought to want, not what they think they should want, not what they may even say in public that they want). You plan your products around those consumer "needs". You design efficient methods for producing them, distribution mechanisms to make them widely available, pricing mechanisms to put them in reach of a carefully-segmented target audience.

    Then you figure out how to advertise those products in advantageous ways, appealing to what people think they ought to want, what they think socially-desirable happy/pretty people want, and that sort of thing: Socially positive messages, often (because they like thinking of themselves as being "good"), even when the "really really want" part isn't what's best for people.

    This is the whole explanation behind things like "healthy" granola bars that are essentially cookies, crispy chicken "salads", and fast-food commercials full of thin/hip/pretty people who don't look like the average consumer in the drive-through.

    Corporations are not our mommies and daddies. It's not their job to give us what's good for us, and figure out how to make us like it. Their job is to make money (for us, to the extent they're publically traded corporations, BTW). Their job is to give us what we want - what we vote with our dollars to say we want - in a convenient form, with as least-cost inputs as the public tastes will tolerate, at a highly desirable price point, at every possible purchase location.

    In this equation, we are the adults in the room . . . or we're not. I've said it before: If what we really, really wanted was single-serve, ecologically-responsibly-packaged, shelf-stable, organic roasted brussels sprouts, they'd be competing to give us those everywhere, at the best possible price point.

    But we want tasty foods with plenty of fat, carbs, salt, calories, and alongside those foods, maximum inactivity (drive-throughs, grocery delivery, Roomba . . . .).

    Blame evolution, if anything.

    Marketing is indeed getting at the deepest desires of the consumer and managing to leverage those desires to promote brands or behavior, even if said behavior/product seems at odds with the desire.

    Example, from “Wired Child” by Richard Freed: Moms’ (most corporations market to moms as the household decision maker) deepest desire is to have connectedness, attachment, meaningful moments with their children. Many are concerned that technology gets in the way. How to market tech to these moms? Give them apps featuring branded products that supposedly help foster togetherness, such as Kraft’s Big Fork/Little Fork that supposedly helps moms teach their kids about healthy eating, featuring videos of a Kraft mom teaching kids how to crack an egg and make recipes with Oreos and other Kraft foods. Tap into that desire, make people think they’re obtaining it, but sneak your product in there (the app, the food brand, the gadget itself).

    Same reason why the ad dollars for exercise equipment and health stuff largely goes to silly gadgets and get thin quick books/products—tap the desire for health and manipulate it so the attempt fails and the consumer is back for more.

    While I don’t watch TV at all (maybe watch two Netflix shows a month), I do see advertising—which Instagram celeb is partnering with Kellogg’s or whomever, which blogger/magazine account is doing sponsored posts or linking to their favorite supplements or bakeware, etc. Many times those aren’t quite as obvious to the casual scroller as advertising—and since they already feel like they know/have a “relationship” with their Insta celeb or fav blogger via comments and the “community” these folks build around their own personal brands, when you’re seeing these people gush about their new favorite product and how it totally works, it can get by your defenses more easily than a TV ad.
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