Obsession With Weight Loss

Who really benefits from society’s obsession with weight loss?

Weight-loss treatments are starting to become a big business. The national obsession with weight began in the early 1940’s. This is when an insurance company put age, weight, and mortality numbers to create “desirable” height vs. weight charts. This is when people began comparing themselves to the “normal” notations.

In the year of 2009, Medicare started covering some weight-loss surgeries. In 2000, about 37,000 bariatric surgeries were performed in the United States. By 2013, that number rose to 220,000 surgeries. Other weight-loss treatments are piling on money for hospitals, and weight loss companies. There are many different weight loss campaigns. For example, take Jenny Craig. She uses headlines like, “Jenny Craig didn’t go to medical school”, “How  weight loss improved my family practice” and “Increase your practice income by $20,000 per month”. The ads try to recruit doctors to incorporate the center’s programs into their practices. This began to happen in 2011 after Medicare announced it would cover treatments for obesity. Many weight loss programs have been on the rise and the industry has been dramatically growing. There has been many companies made like Weight Watchers, Advocare, and several different weight loss pills.

Bariatric surgery is now beginning to be safer now then they were ten years ago, but they still are leading to complications. Some of these are including eating disorders, long-term malnutrition, intestinal blockages, and death. The more weight loss is reframed as “obesity treatment” best left to medical professionals, the more doctors gain from it. Medicalization tends to lead to more diagnoses. More diagnoses lead inevitably to higher revenues and profits. It seems that a lot of profits drive a lot of the research into the treatment of obesity. Bariatric surgeons and other physicians own weight-loss treatment centers and clinics. They hold stock in or take money from meal-replacement companies and pharmaceutical makers. They own surgical practices or are partners in hospitals that do bariatric surgeries. Patients in doctor-owned clinics wind up going to (while paying for) 50 percent more office visits but getting no better care.

So who is really benefiting from the beginning to be “normal” of weight loss surgeries? The people facing obesity, or the doctors?

-Alli Stamper





5 thoughts on “Obsession With Weight Loss

  1. Interesting. This kind of reminds me of a show I had to watch for my Gender and Communication class. “The Swan” took “ugly” women and turned them into these beautiful swans with a ridiculous amount of cosmetic surgery. The panel of doctors sat around and talked about what this woman needed to change about herself to be considered “beautiful”. It seemed so sadistic. Doctors have so much sway in the world we live in. They have the tendency to be known to “fix any problem”. But, you’re right- I think they are gaining so much by telling these patients they have problems that need fixing, and charging them ludicrous amounts. Doctors definitely seem to be the main benefactor.
    -Jocelyn Scott


  2. While I do agree with you that people are obsessed with the idea of losing weight, I don’t necessarily believe it’s a bad thing. Of course as you pointed out, there are doctors and large companies who are only looking to make a profit, but I do believe that genuinely helpful and moral people exist in this world. It’s strange to me that being thin, or healthy by your own personal/physicians standards, is not something that we all strive for initially. It seems as though the obsession about weight loss comes after the fact that we are indeed overweight. More education about diet and exercise could potentially help some people by never putting themselves in that situation in the first place. As far as who’s benefiting, I think all parties are benefiting, for the most part, but the doctors and large companies are definitely coming out ahead of us financially.

    – Drew Sliger


  3. Weight loss is a touchy subject for me. While we know that excessive weight is bad for health, weight ALONE is not always the best indicator of health. Bariatric and other cosmetic surgeries are becoming more and more popular as quick ways to knock off pounds. Despite the complications from the surgeries, people see it as a way to gain quick results and gratification. While this notion works out really well for surgeons, it’s clear we’re not putting enough emphasis on prevention.

    Kaylin Brodzki


  4. I like this article because I feel its a subject everyone talks about at some point in their life. I personally feel that doctors now a days know that since obesity has been on the rise, more and more people are looking for quick ways to shed off pounds as quick as possible. Yeah these surgeries can help, but is it really necessary to shell out that much money for a couple pounds, I still believe the best way to loose weight is just a simple as can be, eat healthy and exercise. Nothing too ridiculous or expensive.

    -Matt Wurzelbacher


  5. I for one am not the healthiest person in regards to weight but I’ve accepted that. I work out and exercise to fix that. I can’t understand why people would choose surgery as a way to lose weight. Cause won’t they gain it back unless their eating habits change? I feel like they’re wasting money for a month or two of self gratification for being a “healthy weight”.

    Danny Wells


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s