The public health crisis surrounding obesity has plagued the United States for well over 40 years. However, with American marketing strategies playing a considerable role in this epidemic, the influence of the obesity paradox could be a deciding factor as to why things may not get better.
According to Frontiers, the obesity paradox refers to ‘extant evidence showing that obesity in older subjects or in patients with several chronic diseases may be protective and associated with decreased mortality.’ This means that there is potential for obesity to have positive effects on people’s lives, creating a whole new mindset towards the disorder. America has already seen a meteoric rise in obesity prevalence in the last two decades. According to the CDC, from 1999-2000 to 2017-2020, America saw an increase of 11.4% in obesity prevalence. Today, with those numbers bound to increase, large companies can take advantage of what could be a new troublesome hypothesis.
Prominent fast-food corporation marketing strategists now are equipped with a new form of advertising that could appeal to a broader array of people if they can sell the obesity paradox. With the ability to market not only a delicious taste but increased health benefits and longer lives, chain corporations could increase their sales by millions while also getting less backlash for their questionable food choices. This could then create a surge for more fast-food chains to be created, knocking out local competitors and making it difficult for consumers to choose any other option.
However, none of this happens unless the American society believes in the obesity paradox and allows the fast-food industry to convince them that the health benefits outweigh the risks. For some people, the health benefits may save their life. On the other hand, others may lose years of their life believing in the paradox. Furthermore, testing such a hypothesis will require years of studying and research that is only applicable if society’s obesity rate increases and people live through it. With the potential for a social and economic catastrophe that could change how people conduct their everyday lives, managing the influence of the obesity paradox is imperative for human health.
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