There is no clear-cut or standard definition of fat, overweight, underweight, or healthy that can describe the diverse population of America. No one definition takes into account individual lifestyle, genetics, body structure, social economic status, geography, ancestry, or habits but the United States government along with the medical community and insurance companies utilizes the BMI scale to determine healthy versus unhealthy and insurability of members. A person’s BMI score influences the member’s insurance premiums, qualification for, and/or denial for life insurance, and affects their quality of life along with projecting the length of their lifespan.
While research on obesity has largely ignored adults over the age of 24, the business world has not. The weight-loss industry reports profits over $30 billion dollars yearly (Cleland, Gross, Koss, Daynard, & Muoio, 2002). Media bombards adults daily with multiple advertisements urging them (adults) to lose weight and get healthy by using Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Shaun T’s Insanity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the annual health care costs of obesity in the United States was $147 billion dollars in 2008 (“Adult obesity facts”, n.d.).
A majority of research focuses on children and adolescents, the research on adult’s self-esteem satisfaction and body image satisfaction is limited. A common misconception of body image dissatisfaction in adults results in eating disorders or excessive exercising (Activity Disorder). Research states that adults experiencing body image satisfaction may take drastic measures such as cosmetic surgery, gastric bypass, lap band surgery, and starvation with cosmetic surgery annual revenue reported over $8 billion dollars yearly (Hobza et al, 2007; Sarwer, Magee, & Clark, 2004). While cosmetic surgery may correct perceived imperfections, cosmetic surgery, gastric bypass, and lap-band surgery does not correct individual body image perceptions or the socialized perception of beauty.
While past research focuses on children and adolescents because of the availability, it is worth noting that children and adolescents do not possess disposable or stable income. According to the Social Security Administration, the average income for U. S. adults was $41,674 in 2010. Adults, males and females, are constant targets in all forms of media. During 30 minutes of adult programming, a viewer may view at least three commercials regarding physical alterations, weight loss, or a sure fire exercise program resulting in the viewer having rock hard abs. The daily exposure to idealized body images via magazines, television, billboards, music videos, and movies may encourage males and females to internalize the need to be thin. Being thin has a correlation to beauty and worth (Phillips & de Man, 2010).
Media images bombard males and females with images of beauty. Media images portray ‘desirable males’ with narrow waist, broad shoulders,...