People write complaints, are unsatisfied, and upset with the outcome of some diets they choose to try. They may be upset with their health, weight, or their overall wellbeing. I’ve wondered to myself who exactly is responsible for the health outcomes that are associated with the foods people choose to eat? I’ve talked about how diet messages can be persuasive, but ultimately I think it’s the individual who chooses what diet he or she will be on, or what foods to consume who is responsible for their health.
The mediated world constantly makes claims whether it be about food or batteries, and it is our responsibility to decipher through the messages and understand the product that we choose to use. However, in our society we are constantly pointing fingers at someone else, trying to place the blame on anyone but ourselves. I would admit that I do think large food corporations, the government, the advertisement agencies, and celebrities are all possible sources that could be blamed for consumers health outcomes that are associated with the foods they eat. After all, all of these people are exposed to and create these messages and products before the consumer has access to them, so shouldn’t they be aware of the negative outcomes? I’d like to think so, but this also steps on the boundaries of money, profit, and endorsements, which, sadly is what our society lives for.
The New York Times published a terrifying, but informing article,” The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food“, which basically discusses who is to blame for the obesity epidemic. At first food manufactures are to blame, however as the story shifts blame is placed on food advertising. Scientists, mathematics, engineers and food taxes are also part of the mix, like I said, everyone will blame someone else. But we as consumers do have the ultimate decision about what we eat. I highly suggest reading this article! It’s disgusting how not only messages, but also foods are designed and created to please a certain audience! This just goes to show how aware we need to be of what we consume!
The next step to the problem lies with how we receive information. Although we ultimately can make the decision, it’s difficult when we don’t understand certain terms. The problem with food and health messages is how they are communicated to the general public. Because this issue continues to grow, we are becoming aware that the general public may lack the food media literacy to understand health claims, and therefore misunderstand important health claims. The JNCI article, “Improving Public Understanding: Guidelines for Communicating Emerging Science on Nutrition Food Safety, and Health” shares valuable information concerning the awareness of information diffusion to the public. I’m glad that it’s understood that how these messages are connected can really affect our choices, “…And, perhaps most important of all, how emerging science is communicated—by scientists, the journals, the media, and the many interest groups that influence the process—also can have powerful effects on the public’s understanding, on its behavior and, ultimately, on its well-being.” As you can see, these groups do indeed have a powerful effect, but is it the deciding factor?
I’m still convinced it is our job as consumers to be aware and take responsibility for what we are eating and be in control of our own personal health.
What do you think? I know this can be a controversy topic, so I’d love to hear different opinions!