Obesity in America has reached a staggering level. 35% of adults and 17% of children are obese…to be exact. There have been countless studies conducted and many fingers pointing blame to this or that for the astronomical number. One factor in particular has taken majority of the heat. That big bad guy is the media.
While Google searching “Obesity and…”, I surprisingly discovered that one of the first suggestions to pop up was “Obesity and the media”. While delving deeper into the Google query I found that people felt media caused obesity for reasons spanning anything from commercials aimed at children to less time outdoors and more time on the couch. There are many logical factors on why people believe the media is making recent generations fat.
I’d like to make the argument that while media has put our society to where it is now, some recent media platforms are actually aiding in turning the population’s heath crisis around. The Internet as well as phone apps are now allowing people to carry personal dieticians and trainers around in their pockets. I believe with an educated audience and the tools we are now provided with, becoming a healthier society should be in our near future.
Applications such as “Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker” by MyFitnessPal promises, “We’ll help you take those extra pounds off! There is no better diet app – period”. With over a million foods in their database it allows the user to be educated about their food, resulting in more health conscious decisions. Other features such as daily trackers and fitness input make you aware just how many calories you are consuming versus how much you are burning.
If you rather turn your phone into your personal trainer, there’s an app for that! Apps such as Fleetly, The Daily, and miCoach are only a few of the fitness apps available on one’s phone. These apps allow you to choose a workout by difficulty, length, muscle group and more. You no longer need to join an expensive gym or buy costly at home videos. There is no longer any validity in the excuse “I just couldn’t find the time”.
The MobiHealthNews published research report studied the effects, if any, of mobile apps on obesity. They reported, “Your ever-smarter mobile phone can’t make you lose 10 pounds. No, mobile phones are not a cure for obesity, the most pressing public health issue facing the United States today. But mobile tools can help.” As we learned to utilize our phones and computer for much more than just communication and research, we will transform exercise and diet as well. Moving away from traditional words such as “exercise” and getting out of the normal member only gym setting will hopefully appeal to a wider range of people.
Aside from apps, the Internet has and continues to provide a plethora of information for anyone who is looking. Any app on the iphone can find its parent company on the Internet. From Michelle Obama’s “choose my plate” to weight watchers online, there are numerous ways to track your nutrition, fitness and progress via the media. I believe all of this information will translate into action and education is the key to change.