What is the connection between obesity and marketing susceptibility? Or should we formulate this question the other way ‘round: What is the connection between marketing susceptibility and obesity?
Because surely that’s the way it works, right? People are susceptible to marketing, which encourages them to eat unhealthy food. The unhealthy foods themselves teach our bodies to crave tasty but empty calories over more nourishing fare. And then we sit back and subject ourselves to more marketing aimed at our bellies, and the cycle continues.
However, this really isn’t a chicken-and-egg thing. It doesn’t help us fulfill our weight-loss, health, and wellbeing goals to figure out what came first. What’s important is to recognize when it’s happening to us and then make healthy choices in spite of the intense marketing efforts that can derail our goals.
What’s perhaps even more important is instilling in our children the importance of making healthy choices. They’re gonna need to learn this valuable skill, especially as the proliferation of data continues to grow and marketers harness that data to effectively target their audiences.
Marketing Susceptibility and Obesity
It’s no secret — and certainly no surprise — to learn that human beings are susceptible to marketing ploys foisted upon them by professional marketers. It may be both a secret and a surprise, however, just how much these marketers know about us.
(Hint: It was always a lot, but now the data they know about us is much more specific, personal, and targeted than it ever was before. We have the internet, digital media, social media, and other factors, such as purchasing data, to thank for that.)
And while the advances in the marketing sphere can help us make heads or tails of a purchasing decision, they can also lead us down unhealthy pathways.
After all, an image of a perfect double cheeseburger on your browser or television screen is one thing. But deciding on a fast-food double cheeseburger for dinner that same night instead of healthy proteins, some whole grains, and vegetables, is another.
Of course, it’s more than just marketing “unhealthy food”; it’s that much of the “unhealthy food” we see marketed to us is presented as being healthy. We must learn to be smart consumers — not just of food but of information — in order to avoid pitfalls.
In other words, what we do with the information presented to us in the form of marketing is more important than the information itself or why it’s being presented to us.
Still, it’s important to keep in mind that we are not automatons forced by our nature to respond in unhealthy ways to marketing. We can make good choices, and those good choices can, in turn, lead to improved ability to avoid falling prey to marketing.
A 2021 study by a professor at the University of British Columbia working with French researchers finds that people with obesity are “more responsive to food marketing — but when their weight drops significantly, so does their responsiveness to marketing.”
More research will help us identify exactly how this happens, but it’s definitely an optimistic thought.
In the meantime, it’s important to remember that we are not defined by our ability or inability to adhere to society’s standards of what constitutes beauty. We’re talking about health, not fashion.
That’s why it’s so important to get a hold of this topic of obesity and marketing susceptibility. Obesity numbers continue to rise. In fact, obesity rates worldwide have gone up significantly in recent years.
Bariatric surgery appears to help consumers psychologically manage their hunger when confronted with marketing tactics that might make them otherwise susceptible to food cravings.
In addition, education and information can help people make better choices. For example, if you were to estimate the calorie content of your favorite fast food meal, would you overestimate or underestimate the calories? Would you be able to tell whether a food framed as healthy was actually healthy?
Learning to sustain a medically recommended weight — and to achieve significant weight loss — people need to be armed with information that empowers them to make wise choices.
At WeightWise, we present our patients with a thorough program of both pre-op and post-op recommendations to help them sustain a healthy weight. Surgery is just the beginning. What happens next is often even more important.
To find out how WeightWise can help you as you navigate this topic of marketing susceptibility and obesity, please get in touch with our friendly, helpful staff today.