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The ethical issues involved in weight loss advertising

The weight loss advertisement and size zero campaigns has created the culture of thinness, self withdrawal, eating disorders, low self esteem and large profits at the expense of customers sheer anxiety. The commercials that we see regularly on television completely mislead the general population with their carefully chosen words, images and ideas of convincing the audience. Although it is required that all viewers must never take such advertisements and companies seriously, but that sadly is not the case. The weight loss industry and advertisements is an unethical business which has only promoted despair, anxiety and profiting at expense of it all.

There are a number of ethical issues involved in weight loss advertising which are supposed to be understood and addressed in order to curtail the harms these advertisements are causing in the minds and lives of millions of the watchers. Here are some of the ethical issues involved in weight loss advertising which has created havocs in lives of many.

One issues that has stuck out in recent times on the internet is the sale of shady weight loss products. Many sellers advertise products that simply don’t work as advertised. Some such as Garcinia Cambogia, which can be found at garciniacambogiaaustraliahq.com.au for example, do work but many sellers aren’t delivering the actual product. Why is it that even when the product is right do people working for this industry still act in shady ways? Do they actually set out to cripple their own businesses?

Individual Responsibilityweight loss supplements

It has proposed by scientists all over the world that a large part of obesity and high weight is determined by the human genetics and also the social environment. However the weight control programs and advertisements hold the individual responsible for his body weight. This blaming the individual for something that is present in the genes raises false expectations in their minds resulting them to utter disappointment and failure. These advertisements which blame the people for their weight causes them hate themselves and starve their own bodies. No attention is given by these advertisements to the societal, genetic causes of obesity but the entire blame is put on the individual making him pressured. There is a need to acknowledge, understand and propagate the multiple factors which contribute to obesity and not just the ones which will enhance the profits of the companies by increasing sales.

 

Promoting the Size Zero Culture

Although it is a fact that large, obese people have a low mortality rate as compared to thin people yet it is not required that a person must be thin and size zero to be considered healthy. Advertisements manipulate the watchers into believing that physical health can be enhanced by weight loss and it is a cultural, social requirement to be thin. The advertisements are made in such a way that they deem the overweight people as socially unacceptable. Thin and healthy are equated through these advertisements ignoring the activity level, composition of diet, social ties, spiritual and emotional health etc.

 

Questionable Motives of Weight Loss Promoters

With the intense hype created by these advertisements to achieve thinness, the public becomes susceptible to new techniques of weight loss which are very harmful or only wastage of large sums of money. These profit motivated companies advertise their products such as thigh creams, food supplements and herbal remedies which can turn out to be harmful and totally useless. Many unproven inventions are advertised and tried on public, deriving large amounts of money for it and giving them with nothing but useless ways of losing weight. These weight loss promoters only seek profits and selling of their product which ends up in compelling them to make unreal advertisements posing illusory benefits of their products in losing weight.

These ethical issues involved in weight loss advertising greatly harm the general public health wise and pocket wise. These ethical challenges tied with the promotion of weight loss create wrong ideas and hopes in public, making them question their self worth and also unhappy, dissatisfied with their own personal appearance.

Advertisers and marketers aren’t the only problem with weight loss industry

weight loss industryThe diet and weight loss industry has become synonymous with snake oil salesmen. This is a shame. There are so many great programs and products available to help people achieve weight loss goals. Advertisers unfortunately create a lot of hype around these products. Sometimes a product that may give someone a push along is advertised as making people lose weight really fast and guaranteed. This is simply not the case. There’s no way of doing it faster in a healthy way. What’s annoying is that a lot of these products are great and have something to offer. People just need to be educated as to how to take them or use them the right way. Weight loss supplements are a prime example here. They can have the effect of lowering appetite, for instance. This alone won’t help someone burn fat fast. Except with exercise and a good diet supplements can turbo charge the process.

What else besides products and advertisers are the problem?

Obviously editorials are easy and factors continuously have to be limited so I just needed to get several minutes and flesh this out a bit further.

In reality, advertisers aren’t breaking the law so long as they seek out legal counsel before launching their products and ad campaigns. The main thrust of them should be to avoid inaccurate claims. However, doctors are in the best position to call their bluff when they see it. They also need to bare some responsibility here.

Overweight and weight problems lead drastically to morbidity, mortality, decreased quality of life, prejudice and social stigma and immediate and oblique health care expenses. Physicians and all media, authorities, hammer home the belief it could be wholesome to shed it and that fat has considerable risk. This can build hype and fear about obesity. This can cause people to panic and purchase anything that promises instant weight loss.

You would think health professionals knew better!

With allied well being professionals I will go 1 step farther. Although advertisers can use hype to sell products, allied health professionals should realise their role in bringing such companies to account. Therefore I’ll toss down my gauntlet for the Schools of various health care experts and point out it is their quick and direct responsibility to defend men and women who are vulnerable at being taken advantage of by weight loss industry people.

Obesity epidemic: if McDonald’s is to blame, then so is everybody else

There is no denying that the United States has a bit of a weight problem, and today, America is no longer unique in thiscorporate responsibility obesity regard. In 2013, Mexico surpassed the U.S. as the nation with the highest recorded obesity rates in the world. Other developed countries, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have also joined America on the list of the world’s most overweight populations. Of these exmples, Mexico is perhaps the most startling: Mexico highlights the phenomenon of rising obesity rates in developing states, once thought to be a problem that only afflicted high-income developed countries. Also striking is the speed at which Mexico’s obesity rate rose and how quickly it surpassed the United States as the world’s most overweight nation.

The obesity witch hunt: A waste of energy

Face with crises such as this, people are quick to search for a scapegoat to blame. This appears to be an instinctual human response, much like a body’s auto-immune reaction to a preceived threat: a desire to locate and eliminate the problem as quickly as possible. One of the most popular scapegoats has been fast food restaurants, which are known for offering fatty, sugary, convenient, and addictive foods. McDonald’s seems to have attracted the most public ire of all fast food companies, perhaps due to works such as Morgan Spurlock’s film Super Size Me, which documented Spurlock’s weight gain and health problems after 30 days of a “McDonald’s-only” diet. Although the film was made a decade ago, it remains fresh in the public mind and has had a lasting impact, even prompting McDonald’s to offer healthier options on their menu to help repair their image.

Why blame McDonald’s only?

The logic behind solely blaming McDonald’s for America’s obesity epidemic is flimsy. Another question that arises is whether or not fast food companies hold any more culpabulity than grocery stores or even restaurants, which also offer plenty of unhealthy choices for consumers. One can go to McDonald’s or Wendy’s and enjoy a healthy meal; likewise, one can go to a grocery store and come away with a cart-load of sugary junk foods. Why the single-minded focus on fast food, and McDonald’s in particular? Why do Wal-Mart, Hostess, Kool-Aid, Hershey, and others not receive this much attention? This myopic targeting of fast food and McDonald’s is a clear failure to address the root of the problem.

This raises even more questions: What amount of responsibility do the consumers hold for their decisions? Unhealthy food can be readily found almost anywhere in developed countries, but grocery stores and fast food restaurants are not forcing people to make unhealthy choices. Is it the government’s responsibility to police and regulate people’s diets? If not the diets, then could they regulate what the restaurants offer? This essentially amounts to restricting or even banning certain popular foods and drinks. Is this something most people would accept? Are these methods plausible or effective, even if the populace did accept them? How could we calculate the amount of responsibility companies share for the obesity epidemic against other factors such as conscious consumer choice, modern lifestyle practices, and even biological factors such as genetic indicators for weight gain?

As one can see, the growing obesity epidemic, no longer contained to America, is a complicated and multifaceted issue. The more one digs into the problem, the more questions arise. I cannot hope to answer all of these questions here. Films such as Super Size Me, while entertaining, are not helping. Instead of causing people to look into complicated health and social issues more deeply and confront the many questions that appear, this sort of sensationalism encourages people to scapegoat and “dog-pile” onto certain companies or industries that are far from solely responsible. If McDonald’s is partly culpable for the obesity crisis, then so is Spurlock for reinforcing an irrational and myopic response to the problem. Perhaps the first step in addressing this issue is to encourage people to explore all possible aspects of increasing obesity, and less focus on searching for a convenient scapegoat.

csr in the law

Should corporate social responsibilty be etched in to legal statutes?

The proud Indian nation over there in the sub continent of Asia is the first nation to introduce laws governing the corporate social responsibilities of firms operating there. In particular, their laws bought in a change that as of then required firms, business, corporations and the like to contribute two percent of their profit to charities and so forth and csr in the lawso on.

The question that comes to mind here though is, is this really the answer to a innovation problem that sees the country one of the poorest throughout the entire globe? It does tend to make sense when you consider it from a purely diplomatic and policy point of view. However, on the other hand, small business and even medium sized operations carrying out their work on Indian soil have to date already have staked some sort of influence on society and local people right there into the ethics and flavor of their company when they form and build it. There’s no changing that through laws foisted upon them. Really, it has to come from the core of the company for it to be effectively implemented by that actual firm itself.

This newly introduced statute in India is a whopping document. In fact it totals 294 pages to be exact. It actually needs the company in question to establish a board that it in charge of corporate social responsibility. It also needs to give over two percent of its profit generated even over the last 3 years to corporate social responsibility implementation. It then is required to be submitted for review at the conclusion of the financial year. This is to be carried out by the board leader in order to maintain its compliance with those laws. After all of that occurs enforcement of the legal requirement becomes a little unclear to say the least bit.

So what does this mean for real companies currently operating in the land and nation of the Indian people? Well it applies to businesses that are currently bringing in about five billion dollars rupee each year. In US dollars that totals around about eighty million. It also applies to companies making 10 billion rupee (or 160 million US dollars), and those making over 50 million rupee which amounts to 830 000 us bucks. Apparently, this amounts to around about eight thousand Indian firms. This would essentially bring in about 1200 to 15000 crore rupee which is the same as around about two billion us dollars.

So who is effected by these laws in particular?

There are various large corporates in India that are to be impacted by this. Some of them include Wipro, Tata, Airtel, and Reliance. So far these organisations have actually set up foundations and participate in work that assists their communities to become stronger. In particular, they have been doing what they can to help stop the poverty situation that takes place in their country around them. However, these programmes are not without their critics of course. They argue that such funds are not necessarily the most effective method by which India’s social and poverty problems may be tackled.
What did Bill Gates have to say about this?

All the way back in the year 2008, William Gates of Microsoft gave a speach at the WEF forum. The main gist of his talk was about the idea of ‘creative capitalism’. HE communicated this idea of business taking inventory of their main skills and assets. These may include agricultural skills, technological apptitude, health knowledge and what not. He said these actual special areas of knowledge that these companies are very good at could be used to contribute to alleviating social problems rather than simply chucking money at the problems through charities as this is often as good and effective as throwing pasta against a wall just to see if it will stick or not.