There are thousands of people and corporations involved with this complex issue. No one person or group holds all the power. The main and most powerful stakeholders are Michelle Obama and the Let’s Move campaign along with the Surgeon General, Regina M. Benjamin, diet fads and their marketing, marketing in general, the health industry, and the fashion industry, including models. Another major stakeholder in this issue is role models like celebrities and athletes.
The fashion industry is obsessed with looking the best in clothing, and to them, the skinnier the better. Eating disorders are not a rarity in this industry just to stay employed. With the exception of the fraction of plus sized models, skinny models are the majority. These models are used to market a variety of products from alcohol, to clothing, to household items, to food, and the list goes on. Marketers want what will help the product sell, and “unattractive” men and women are not ideal. And when it comes to weight loss foods, programs, or pills, companies want thin spokes people and models, preferably ones that have recently lost a lot of weight. For example, Weight Watchers utilized Jessica Simpson and her weight gain from pregnancy to hire her as a spokesperson for their program. This goes to show how valuable roles models, particularly those in the spotlight hold power. They can market themselves to make even more money, but are they sending the right message? Is saying “take this pill,” or “eat this food,” or “work out this way,” the way to tell your fans and followers that they will be BE. YOU. TIFUL.?
The answer to that question is “no!” Doctors and the health industry need advocates to promote a healthy lifestyle not a “skinny” or “sexy” lifestyle. The Let’s Move campaign supported by Michelle Obama and Regina M. Benjamin is a program dedicated to raise a generation of healthier children. This campaign calls for all children to move for at least sixty minutes a day and adults at least thirty minutes a day as well as eat healthy. If there is a shift from a focus on the problem (obesity) and focus on the possibility (a healthy generation), our country will be better off. This campaign should also focus that “healthy is beautiful” and beautiful doesn’t necessarily mean thin! It would certainly help if there were more spokespeople in the public eye to encourage this shift!