Obesity as a Social Issue Through the Advancement of Technology

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The prevailing conception of obesity is one that holds the individual, and by extent their personal experiences and actions, accountable for their current state. However, this perspective is full of ideology and cultural beliefs, thus, we fail to recognise obesity as a social construct. Alterations in personal milieu can be said to be a product of cultural transformation and the entwinement of institutions. Therefore, to distinguish obesity as a social issue rather than a personal trouble, it is important to identify cultural trends, and the political and economic institutions that transcend the individual. Australia, being a well-developed country, has been subjected to the productive and destructive outcomes of globalisation and…show more content…
Patterson and Johnston (2012) describe the political-economic attitude to food production as an all-consuming quest for corporate control and surplus maximisation (Patterson, 2012). As a result, the global food economy often comes at the detriment of public health, of which obesity is quickly gaining rank. Through the use of technology, advertising presents a contradictory call-to-action by promoting the need to go out and purchase fast-food yet necessitating a sedentary lifestyle (Hillier, 2008). From a Marxist point of view, this unprecedented access to technology is essential for capital development. However, Patterson et al. (2012) believes that the media draws on scientific prompts from the medical society and filters and reconstructs these to reach their own idealistic goals (Patterson, 2012). They suggest that rates of obesity are altered because the individual is seen as both a channel for maximising food consumption and a facilitator of the health and beauty industry, creating a link to neo-liberalism (Patterson, 2012). This highlights obesity as a social issue as they ‘often involve what Marxists call ‘contradictions’ (Mills, 2010:7). The views of Patterson et al. are further supported by the work of Hillier (2008) on Childhood obesity in the USA. Although not specific to Australia, the social structures resonate within most developed countries. With focus on childhood

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