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According to the State of World (2004) report, China, UK and Western Europeans have had a bar on untenable over- consumption for decades. Roughly 1.7 billion people globally now fit in to the “consumer class” the group of people distinguished by diets of extremely processed food, yearning for bigger houses, better and bigger cars, higher level of revolving credit, and lifestyles dedicated to hoard unnecessary goods (Whittaker 2003). Today nearly half of global consumers dwell in developing countries like India and China. As we enter the dawn of the new century this consumerist appetite is dejection the natural systems that the humanity has been relying on and making it difficult for the majority of this world to meet their ends meet. It’s a chaos out there. Every men and women are trying to at least look better, superior and wealthier than the other one. People are neglecting their basic needs and spending more on flashing gadgets and expensive hand bangs just to look ‘cool’ walking down the street.
This “culture of the beast” has introduced some unthinkable problem in our society ranging from psychological problems to overeating to higher suicide rates. But the question is why we have become the way we are. What has caused this global consumerism in the past few decades? Why is everyone trying to compete with each other?
One of the several major factors that influence mass consumption is advertising. Diverse perceptions occur in the consumer’s mind and these perceptions are dynamic, meaning they keep changing on a constant basis. Every individual receives these messages in a different way, we all have different perception to the same message. Therefore, a specific message might be more important to one individual and nothing to the other. The financial power of advertising, in these times, has arrived at enormous magnitude, and generates extremely swift and impressive effects. While products increase and dozens of new ones emerge, the sources also become creative. Due to these global social changes, it is easy to comprehend the intricate task of advertisement in the modern world (Whittaker 2003). Technological advancement like the satellite channels and internet has totally changes the concept of advertisement and is no doubt the greatest revolution of the past century. The prospect of advertising will not merely be bound to its individual inventive capability, but to the pace and conviction with which they become accustomed to themselves to the new way, lots of which still do not exist. The only the new sources would be challenging but the new products numerous of which have not yet even been designed on put on papers will come up as demands of latest and unheard of societies of which the consumer becomes the leading character.
There has been an increase in health concerns across United States in the recent years; several hold the fast food industry culpable, and they think that the industry’s focus on marketing to children has been a direct contribution to the deterioration of health. For instance, a diverse quantity of fast food restaurants supplies “happy meals,” which are meals exclusively for children. The names specified to the meals only make children to buy them. They have names like “Happy Meals” or “Big Kids Meals.” Fast food restaurants endorse these meals in commercials by linking it to everyday life of children.
Generally speaking, nearly everything in life and in nature is predictable, apart from the human being. Advertising message transmission through the media, should be done keeping the target in mind, since firstly, public should be comprehended, as in one should know what do they want, what are they looking for, what is keeping them occupied (Packard & Crispin, 2007). This will make it capable of orienting the offer in a company, apart from this strategy; any communication would be a failure. That offer must be guided, so that consumption is takes place in an effective manner (Messaris, 1997). Moreover, it cannot be analyzed as strategy, attitude, influence, presence, as sooner or later, it is the common public who decides.
The persistent duty of the professional communicator is to be intimately aware of the society he is dealing in, and to be cultivated by it, so as to be capable of giving consumers satisfactory answers. People are bestowed with true programs which interpret the world with the accessible information they have, and they do it with a data comparison systеm, which thеy havе filеd in advancе, thеsе automatic systеms would bе thosе which providе a codе that facilitatеs thе handling in this world (Lakhani, 2008).
It can be said that there exist a threshold within every individual, the lower one through which the subconscious is set in motion and another higher one, on which the information infiltrates to conscience. The nearer these two thresholds the closer the communication between the unconscious and the more complete will be the consciеncе awarеnеss. Thе furthеr away thе thrеsholds, thе poorеr thе conscious awarеnеss (Packard & Crispin, 2007). All the things being perceived by human mind can be regarded as symbolic or functional or as both. Regardless of being verbal or nonverbal, the symbolic meaning functions within the subconscious (Lakhani, 2008). The symbols matters and what an object or situation means for each one is secondary. The symbolic meanings seem to comprise the foundation on which perception becomes something intensely important.
In this manner the accessible information, is “decoded”, meaning that interpreted according to one’s own code. It is also unfinished, because one cannot agree to all the existing information in a given reality instant. Therefore in order to better resolve the informational mayhem, the human mind goes through a selection process, which involves only that information to be extracted that is needed (Lakhani, 2008).
The process of consumption occurs only when a consumer has set his or her mind for a particular product. Frequently this mind set is nothing but an effect of the influence made through advertising and gives an object a totally new perception, these objects and products were never before taken in a similar fashion (Messaris, 1997). It is quite obvious that mind intervenes when it perceives something and that perception becomes consumption only when the mind orders a ‘yes’.
To make a product well-known to the common public, when broadcasting the advertisement the recipient not only focuses on the product alone but the whole ambience that is surrounding that specific product. For example to get a good image of any product, it has to be accompanied by a pleasant voice. An unpleasant voice or too harsh of a voice might even make the product look repulsive (Lakhani, 2008). During communication, it is seldom merely a question of the concrete matter. The words should also have an influence, to inspire the speaker to do a certain thing. According to expert Friedemann Schulz von Thun, four aspects are included in news:
Let us presume a case; you are comfortably sitting in the living room. Your son walks in and leaves the door open behind him. You say: There is a draught. This is first of all a verification (indicates objective content); but, in the same instance you are communicating with your son that you are feeling cold (this is personal revelation); you would possibly want your son to go and shut the door (signifies appeal), and probably you are drawing his mind to the fact that it is inappropriate to leave the door open behind (relationship). Now your son has the chance of comprehending and interpreting this in his own individual way (Lakhani, 2008).
The conclusion that can be deduced through this theory of communication is that one should focus his attention on what is of the top most importance for an individual while communicating with him and how to express it in a direct manner. The subliminal message is administered by the thought that the conscious mind arbitrates and the subconscious one act with the memory database. The most renowned example was the Popcorn Experiment, where the European cinema placed images of popcorn, inside the movie frames, that was being projected in the cinema (Packard & Crispin, 2007). As a result of this experiment it was proven without a doubt that people watching the movie did perceive popcorns in the subconscious and this was shown by their desire to consume popcorns.
All movies are endowed with a number of subliminal visual messages. The conscious mind picks up the information being presented in the center of the screen; this information is already interpreted and comprehended by the brain before it gets stored in the brain. On the other hand the human subconscious grabs the information that is being presented at the edge of the projected screen. This information interestingly is not comprehended or understood by the brain instantly; in fact this subconscious information gets stored first and gets comprehended and judged by the brain at a later time, thus creating a more powerful and long lasting effect as compared to the conscious information (Packard & Crispin, 2007). It is due to this reason that public gets more influenced and impacted by watching a movie on a big screen as compared to watching the same move at home on a smaller screen. Reason being that on a smaller screen all the information is being perceived by the conscious mind and therefore unconscious mind does not store nothing which results in less impact.
The auditory subliminal messages function in a similar fashion. When the mind receives subconscious information it doesn’t interpret it right away, it first stores them. The problems do not generate themselves with the memory but with the likelihood of evoking. This involves so that others commit to memory what they have heard, one should be cautious with the manner in which the information is offered (Packard & Crispin, 2007).
Subliminal perception was previously mentioned in the writings of Demócrito’s around 400 B.C. He stated that a great deal of the perceptible things is not really perceived by us. Plato mentioned this idea in his Timeo. Aristotle elucidated in a further thorough manner the thresholds of the subliminal conscience and he appears to be the first in signifying that the non perceived stimuli in a conscious way, could well affect dreams (Messaris, 1997). Certainly, a conscious relationship can cause a subliminal perception masked intensely in the unconscious for long periods of time after the actual perception took place. It is essential to bear in mind the pledge that makes this provable theory, for all those that are in the trade of controlling and influencing human behavior.
Numerous communicational strategies affect consumers in their own perception; one of them is subliminal advertising, it make imagination more reproductive; images collected by the brain, are so diverse that the consumer receives a huge array of opportunities. Presently, by manipulating the offer of products, you can bring the consumer near to what he/she wants. Keeping certain segments of the product and the offer it entails in mind, consumers go through a mental construction that brings them closer to a consumption decision.
It is frequent nowadays to see a fast food restaurant at the turn of every neighborhood. This is for the reason that these franchises are gold mines for every restaurant manager (Ebbeling et al 2006). They are least concern with the ill health effect of fast food. People, particularly children and teenagers, are continually drawn towards fast food. It is in addition apparent that children are more drawn to the labels than the food itself. The fast food culture in United States is the main cause of childhood obesity.
According to the Omnivores theory, as omnivores, the most indiscriminate eaters, we humans are faced with a extensive assortment of food choices, resulting in a dilemma (Pollan 2006). In his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan starts with an examination of the food-production system from which the enormous preponderance of American meals are obtained. This industrial food chain is mostly based on corn, whether it is eaten directly or indirectly by feeding it to the livestock, or processed into chemicals such as xanthan gum, frequently in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, and ethanol. The corn plant it should be noted came to dominate the American culture through a mixtures of several political and economical factors along with some biological factors as well. Fast food meal is the last link in this industrial food chain. A fast food meal is used to illustrate the end result of the industrial food chain (Pollan 2006).
Fast food doesn’t just overkill diners with fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol, even though these unaccompanied pretense health hazards in overindulgence. Eating from fast-food menus adds to a poor diet by providing insufficient vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that required by the body to carry out physiological functions. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), huge amounts of fat and sugar contained in burgers, fried foods, carbonated beverages and Chinese food sauces can in addition lead to the disease of obesity (Ebbeling et al 2006).
Obesity is a dietary disorder that is caused due to imbalance between the energy intake and energy consumption. Reduced physical activity is one of the major contributors of obesity. Obesity has become one of the major health concerns all around the world especially developed societies like United States. Obesity is the major cause of all the major cardiovascular disease and associated mortality and morbidity (Ford et al, 2002).
Sadly, around 17% of children in United States are clinically obese which is leading to a higher prevalence of CVD and associated risk factors like hypertension, hyperlipidemia and insulin resistance in younger population. According to Georgia has the 2nd highest childhood obesity rate in the U.S. Nearly 40% Georgia’s children are overweight or obese. In traditional medicine obesity is considered to be an indirect cause of cardiovascular disease (Ebbeling et al 2006). The usual belief is that due to high adipose content in the body leads to hyper-dynamic circulation, a adaptive response to the higher adipose tissue index in the body, this in turn leads to dilated cardiomyopathy in extreme cases due to the increased workload on the left ventricular of the heart. But in addition to these traditional concepts the new concept is emerging which states that lipid droplets accumulates within the myocardium and this might be directly cardiotoxic to the myocardium.
Nutrition, obesity and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease are all closely linked to each other. There is sufficient data out there that suggests that the in spite of the genetic factors leading to cardiovascular disease, diet and nutrition can easily regulate and prevent certain diseases in the individual. Therefore, it is important for the doctors to recommend proper diet for their patients and besides prescribing drugs educate the community in consuming a healthy diet.
The stigmatization aimed at overweight kids, by their peers, parents, teachers, and the rest, is insidious and habitually inexorable. It has been broadly accepted across various trials of children using assorted research methods (Ebbeling et al 2006). Therefore, due to this weight bias and discrimination, obese children undergo immense negative psychosocial and health-related consequences. Considerable revolution is required to fight this prejudice. The unconstructive traits and widespread stereotyping regarding obese and overweight individuals portrayed in the media have to be changed, and stigma-reduction programs have to be developed and tested immediately. It is clearly demonstrated in the diverse scientific research literature that the obese and overweight children are a constant target of social stigma. Nevertheless, extra effort is required to comprehend the outcomes (Ebbeling et al 2006). Exploring the causes of childhood obesity and taking proper action must deal with the variables that affect both eating and physical activity. Apparently simple, these variables result from intricate interactions across several significant communal, financial, cultural, ecological, and policy perspectives. If weight-based bias really is responsible for a considerable fraction of the health injury suffered by obese children, then merely reducing the weight of the child is not adequate to tackle the actual problem. Foremost, even though weight loss may lead to secondary reduction of overweight bias, but the prior discrimination can leave everlasting negative effects on the individual, these negative health and psychosocial effects can persists for life. Moreover, overweight bias can still continue even after weight reduction. Therefore, merely taking care of the weight is not an ultimate solution for the problem since the future generation can go through the same problems if they are overweight. This issue is a society based problem and the only way to eradicate it is by involving all levels of population in the society. Weight-based prejudice is as significant a problem as ethnic intolerance or discrimination against children with physical disabilities. This is a serious problem and the solution should be taken seriously or it will go on effecting the future generation of this great nation.
In United States children are living in a society that has considerably changed in the last 30 years and it is over the period of these years that has given rise to obesity epidemic. Several of these cultural and social changes such as working parents frequently influences the child’s diet, quality of diet and the calorie intake and expenditure (Ebbeling et al., 2002; Hill et al., 2003).
Several of the social and cultural traits that the U.S. population has adopted as a customary way of life might jointly add to the increasing levels of childhood obesity. The wide societal tendencies that affect weight outcomes are intricate and evidently multi-factorial. With such social changes, it is hard to clear up the quantitative and qualitative role of each contributing factors. While individual causal relationships might be hard to establish, the remarkable increase in childhood obesity prevalence must be taken within the perspective of these wide communal changes. In order for this health education course to be successful the innovation must be beneficial and teach parents the importance of providing plenty of fruits and vegetables, limit foods high in fat and sugar, prepare healthier foods at family meals, drink more water than sugar drinks and ensure that the child gets adequate physical activity on a daily basis (Dey et al 2006). As a health care worker in the primary setting there is an increased need to educate parents, as is it our mission to assess, prevent, treat, and educate parents and children on the importance of healthy choices in hopes to reduce childhood obesity.
Parents’ eating pattern can serve as an example for children’s behavior. The present epidemic of adult obesity and the epidemiological data on adults’ dietary and physical activity behaviors implies cause for unease (CDC, 2004). But the public’s growing wakefulness towards obesity epidemic and of the health outcomes of obesity, in children and adults equally, might alter these patterns. When parents assume a healthier lifestyle, they might promote the growth of healthful behaviors and patterns in their children. Research indicates that modeling and enhanced knowledge have autonomous important outcomes on food intake (Cullen et al., 2000, 2003). Parents who eat fruits and vegetables, for instance, have children who follow the same behavior. Similar behavior is seen with milk intake. Likewise, parents who present their mastery of food control can offer positive influences (Ebbeling et al 2006).
This clearly indicates that healthcare staff should be properly trained to educate parents and their children in order to prevent childhood obesity. Some of the guidelines that must be followed when addressing parents and children are:
Children at risk should be advised to decrease extra food intake and increase physical activity, fruits and vegetables should be increased in daily intake, increase consumption of water should be advised, candies and other sweet things should be discouraged, fast food and carbonated beverages should be discouraged as well. Parents should be advised to set an example for their children by get more involved in healthier lifestyle but taking in healthier food and increasing physical activity. Children should be encouraged to spend more time outside the house playing sports rather sitting home in front of the TV or playing video games. Parents should be advised not to reward their children with junk food like candies and other fattening snacks. Children should be given very limited access to candies at home. Parents should make sure that children are getting healthy food at school and if in doubt parents should prepare lunch boxes at home to be taken to school.
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