America Is A County Where The Prevailing Narrative Of The Obesity Epidemic

America Is A County Where The Prevailing Narrative Of The Obesity Epidemic

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America is a county where the prevailing narrative revolves around the individual’s ability to overcome adversity and to find success amidst that adversity. The American dream perpetuates the ideals of opportunity, upward social mobility, and the merits of hard work, regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. We strive for and nearly idolize models of success and claim few obstacles between our current status and the achieving such standards; in fact, American society literally idolizes supermodels and prizes thinness as the ideal body type. Thus, this idea of there being no excuse for failure extends to the apparent “obesity epidemic” in America in that individual choices are blamed for the occurrences of obesity and the failure of achieving thinness. This individual-centered frame of obesity presented by the media to the public overshadows other frames of obesity and effectively works against looking towards a solution to the “obesity epidemic”.
First of all, it is important to define what a frame is to understand why a specific frame can be harmful towards an event or illness epidemic. According to Snow and Lessor, a frame is an “interpretative structure that render events and occurrences subjectively meaningful, and thereby function to organize experience end guide action (2010:285).” Essentially, a frame is like a specifically crafted lenses that forces people to see a topic from a specific perspective; producers may choose what and how audiences will consume and view such a topic. In the case of obesity, most media and news sources frame it as the result of individual choice making, specifically lazy, undisciplined, and otherwise controllable choices involving food and exercise (Saguy and Gruys, 2010)....


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...ssentially means reducing the conflict between the multiple obesity frames and achieving a sense of agreement on a specific frame of obesity, and in order to reduce the epidemic, obesity must be framed as a medical disease and not as a socialized illness, warranting the need for medical treatment and prevention to be researched. However, a frame shift may work just as well in that if the predominant frame shifted its blame from individual decision-making to structural factors, then there would be equivalent public policy implications that would change to target and prevent the incidence of obesity amongst Americans. But until either a frame alignment is achieved or frame shift occurs, the current frame about the individual-ness of obesity will continue to overshadow upstream, structural factors of the disease and instead focus on downstream influences of obesity.

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