Rise in Health Consciousness: From the Ideal to the Paradox
To Achieve a “Better” Body…
A look at
America’s most prominent celebrities and athletes over the past 5
decades provides a general sense for the ideal body image.
a. Marilyn Monroe
-Full, curvaceous body
-Beauty standards focus on large breasts
b. Mickey Mantle -- 5 ft.11 in., 195 lbs. (http://www.themick.com)
-536 home runs
-A slugger in his own right
a. Model “Twiggy” -- 5 ft. 7 in., 90 lbs (http://iml.jou.ufl.edu)
-Shift in standard of models to excessively thin
-Average model weighs 8% less that average American woman
b. Bill Russell -- 6 ft. 10 in., 220 lbs. (www.cuttington.org)
-Center for Boston Celtics
-Most dominant player in the game won 11 championships
-Skill and technique as his weapon
-For women, “the look” shifts from thin to toned
-Exercise becomes a more popular activity
-Average model weighs 23% less than average American woman
a. Kate Moss -- 5 ft. 7 in., 105 lbs. (www.supermodelguide.com)
-Ribs exposed, eyes sunken, arms and neck emaciated
-Her success as a model proves that thin is still very much in
b. Pamela Anderson -- 5 ft. 7in., 105 lbs. (www.supermodelguide.com)
-Small waist, disproportionate breast size implants
a. Mark McGuire -- 6 ft. 5 in., 250 lbs. (www.cnnsi.com)
-Far more bulked up than players in the past
-580 home runs
b. Shaquille O’Neill – 7 ft. 1 in., 315 lbs. (http://cbs.sportsline.com)
-Today’s most dominant center, 3 championships and counting
-Use of brute force to earn his points
-“Plus-size” models and actresses begin to make a comeback
-Still, the majority of women in Hollywood appear more on the “twiggy”
(E.g.: Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow)
II. The Ideal
President’s Council on Youth Fitness
President’s Council on Physical Fitness
Presidential Award for Physical Fitness
is “National Physical Fitness and Sports Month”
Nutrition Labeling and education Act
Dietary Supplement Health and Education act
the present: Sale of home gym equipment and health club memberships
E.g.: Retail sales of home fitness equipment grow 22% in 1988
findings that exercise cuts heart attack risk in 1980
finding exercise linked to overall health
In 1989 study, survey finds 78% of Americans say they exercise
regularly (an increase from 73% in 1981) (NB: see paradox section for
actual percentage of Americans exercising)
Exercise and Fitness as a “fad” industry
implementation of computers in exercise equipment
and early ‘90s: Jane Fonda videos
Bo (form of aerobic kickboxing popularized by Billy Blanks)
Spinning (indoor stationary cycling program created in 1980s by
world-class cyclist Jonathan Goldberg—Johnny G—emphasizes heart rate for
Pilates (An exercise system focused on improving flexibility and
strength for the total body without building bulk. First brought to New
York City by creator Joseph Pilates in 1926, gained popularity with
celebrities in late 1990s)
was less prevalent than in the past during WWII.
Magazines printed articles about how to cook during a food shortage
rather than how to lose weight.
the way in which you combine proteins and carbs affects the speed of
the first high-energy, high-protein beverage (like today’s Slim fast).
a club/ support group based on healthy eating and lifestyle.
Beverly Hills Dietà
although this diet made the false claim that eating pineapple before
every meal would break down fat, it was successful in that it was a
Advancements in science and nutrition made it clear that limiting
calorie intake was the right way to lose weight.
was also recognized as “good for you” for the first time.
i. The F-Planà
promoted eating high fiber as a way to get the body healthier and
working more smoothly.
Rosemary Conley Hip and Thigh Dietà
advocated low-calorie foods and some exercise.
nutritious shakes replace two meals per day
Understanding of nutrition was much better than it had been in the past.
Low-fat joined low-calorie as an obsession.
a consultant provides individually recommended array of soups and
meal-replacing bars and shakes.
a high-protein, low-carb diet.
Evidence suggests that diets do not work in the long-run, and people
focus on a healthier, exercise-based lifestyle.
is a changing focus away from dieting with a goal of being skinny to
dieting with a goal of having a healthy body.
For a daily fee, three zone meals and two snacks are delivered to one’s
door. The diet focuses on balancing fat, protein, and carbohydrate
Rivett’s Jenergy Planà
Focused on education for life, this diet teaches healthy eating and
muscle/strength training in order to keep metabolisms high.
may be successful when combined with a healthy, low-calorie diet.
III. The Paradox
Government Legislation 2001: Surgeon General says that obesity and
overweight are reaching staggering high levels.
Americans spend billions of dollars on equipment and memberships that go
While Americans are becoming more health-conscious and see the
need for physical fitness in a healthy lifestyle, Americans are becoming
ACTUAL percentage of Americans who do “real exercise to build the
heart” is only 10 to 20%. (WSJ “Good Intentions Prop Up Fitness Sales”
10/31/1989 by Carrie Dolan)
a starvation diet.
who dieted had little knowledge of nutrition, so they tended to rely on
eating lots of bananas was intended to satisfy sugar cravings.
a “miracle mixture” of oils was supposed to raise metabolism, but it
only made dieters sick.
called the “full-stomach-pill,” it did not work.
still little knowledge of nutrition, so women continued to experiment
with strange diets
Based on eating only bread and butter.
mean to speed up metabolism; it sometimes caused nervous disorders
iii. Ayds slimming tabletsà
intended to satiate one’s appetite, but often made people
There was still
little understanding of nutrition, so there was hope that some kind of
magical formula to speed metabolism and/or shed pounds could be found.
Included absurd ideas such as the belief that green beans cut longwise
as opposed to widthwise would slow digestion
essentially a starvation diet
did not work, but left many constipated.
Cabbage Soup Dietà
rapid weight-loss is supposed to be achieved by eating cabbage soup and
low-calorie, high-fiber foods
proposed that dieters could eat every fifteen minutes as long as they
Disorders: With changes in ideal body image that don’t fit most people’s
natural body type, many women and men have turned to disordered eating
as a solution.
1. Anorexia - associated with a
distorted body image that may be caused by a mental disorder.
Extreme reluctance to eat and inadequate caloric intake result in
severe weight loss.
- an illness characterized by uncontrolled episodes of overeating
usually followed by self-induced vomiting or other purging (http://www.health.yahoo.com)
disorders can be traced far into history
thought of as a “benign” group of psychiatric illnesses
-Accurate estimates of women suffering from disorders are
unavailable until recently
are associated with a high degree of secrecy and shame
singer Karen Carpenter dies of heart failure due to anorexia
begin to receive a high degree of media attention
are seen as life threatening
-Anorexia and bulimia described in the DSM III in 1980
the International Journal of Eating Disorders claims that eating
disorders have, in fact, been on the rise among American women since the
-Also states that the # of girls age 10 to 14 has increased
at an accelerated rate
each decade since the
disorders among men have also been on the rise
suffer from anorexia nervosa
suffers from bulimia nervosa
from binge eating disorder
females, 0.4% males report bulimia in first year of college
4. The big question: have eating
disorders really been on the rise or has our increased awareness of
the illnesses been the main factor?
at the ideal body image projected by celebrities over the past 5
decades, it appears that eating disorders truly have bee on the rise
1. Why use
technology? “Quick fix”
1973 Pondimin (Fenfluramin “Fen-Phen”) & Phentermine 1959
Stimulating drug diets
1999 Orlistat (Xenical)
McDonaldization and Obesity
1. History of Fast Food
2. McDonaldization Defined
3. Fast Food and Obesity
a. Obesity defined
b. Health Facts
c. Prevalence of Fast Food in America
i. Ads Directed at Children
ii. Fast Food in Schools, Hospitals, Chechnya
in the Works
b. Other imitators
2. Class Action Suits
a. Fast Food Responding to
3. Have It Your Way
a. Grass roots movements
1. How has the "ideal" image changed from 1945 to present? Discuss
America's most prominent celebrities and athletes over the past 5
decades and analyze the ideal body image.
2. Discuss the government legislation concerning health and fitness.
3. What are some "quick fixes" Americans have used to improve their
4. Discuss and explain the "paradoxes" concerning health consciousness.