Weight-Loss and the Weight of the Media Essay

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Weight-Loss and the Weight of the Media

The media bombards us with advertisements and articles about weight-loss supplements. We cannot turn on the television or radio without seeing or hearing an advertisement for Dexatrim, and we cannot flip through a magazine without seeing an advertisement or article about Metabolife. The manner in which different media sources treat weight-loss supplements greatly influences the public's perception of these products. This essay will examine a Newsweek article entitled "Mad about Metabolife," an advertisement for Hydroxycut from Mademoiselle, and a radio advertisement for Carbolife Gold to illustrate the manner in which the media presents the use of dietary supplements to promote weight
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Given that advertisements are trying to sell a product, it is not surprising that advertisements attempt to attract people's attention by offering them the means to achieve their dreams of quick and easy weight loss.

However, it may be somewhat more surprising that an article, rather than an advertisement, about a weight-loss supplement also begins by describing the potential for quick and easy weight loss. The "Mad About Metabolife" article begins, "So you're feeling a little thick around the middle and you've heard enough about abstinence and exercise. Wouldn't it be nice if you could pop a pill, stretch out on the BarcaLounger and incinerate calories like a long-distance runner?" (Cowley, Reno, and Underwood, 1999, p. 52). The article, which is a critique of Metabolife 356, intentionally starts out with a description of the possible virtues of the product so that the article catches the public's attention in much the same way advertisements do. However, the similarities between the advertisements and the article cease here, and the article continues by describing the information about the supplement that advertisements leave out.

Although all three sources describe how supplements are fast and easy methods to lose weight, this message is the main emphasis of only one source: the radio advertisement. The advertisement makes multiple claims that "in less than a week you'll lose five to fifteen pounds, guaranteed," and "unwanted pounds will

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