Blogpost: How TV can Reinforce Misconceptions

Pharmaceutical advertisements are aimed to sell wellness through medications. They are also aimed at diverting the causation of the illnesses, and taking away any power of the individual to influence their diseases. The overweight kind man wants to spend more time with his grandchildren so he takes a diabetic medication or cholesterol medications to control is disease. The ads have people enjoying the “comforts” of life like grilling burgers or eating large meals. If there is movement, it is portrayed as gentle exercise as to not tire or stress the fragile individual. In other words, the person was inflicted unfairly with a disease, and the medication can save the day without the person having to change any behaviors. The only thing one has to do is continue to fill the prescription. Nothing more needs to be done.

I have watched several tv shows that deal with one of the actors going through cancer. They relieve their stress with alcohol and “comfort foods” such as cookies and cheesecake. They are portrayed as victims who have little control over their health. The only people you see exercising are children and the occasional 30 something well muscled male. The over 40 crowd is sedentary with food and drink to ease the pain of life.

If the word vegan is used, it is in the context of punishment or a culinary disaster. Vegans are portrayed as the weird people but never get to defend their choices. The norm is to reward success and console for failure with ice cream, booze, and over indulgence.

The association of nutrition and disease is hidden at every chance. It would be much harder to watch a movie eating popcorn and candy if the actors were eating healthy and exercising. How could the TV doctors be heroes if people didn’t have heart disease or cancer? What would happen if a doctor suggested plant based nutrition and showed a patient getting better?

There is not too much support for the struggling plant based vegan otherwise known as “a health nut”. So the next time you turn on your TV look at the people in the pharmaceutical commercials not if they look healthy or are overweight and struggling to move? The answer is not to keep your head buried in the sand while your health continues to decline. You are too important to wait for someone to save the day with a medication after your health fails. Where do you look to see what is possible? What is normal? Don’t be afraid to raise the bar and take control of your health. Make sure your dietary choices and activity choices are serving you well. Don’t let television advertisements be your guide to health and wellness. Don’t follow the lifestyles glorified on tv shows and expect to be spared from lifestyle diseases and their life limiting consequences.

One Comment
  1. Reply

    Great piece! My husband and I have also both noticed that the fast food adverts for Taco Bell or Checkers are almost always followed by an advert for a drug for cholesterol management or management of type II diabetes!!

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