The Pandemic as a Wake-Up Call for Personal Health Article Review



The Pandemic of the CoronaVirus became the unprecedented factor that affected the choices people took in their personal health journey for better or for worse. The outbreak became the motivational and realizational factors for some to take the initiative to pursue personal health goals. But for most, the pandemic became a time for becoming a couch potato, putting health off to the side, and forgetting about the importance of health. Jane E. Brody wrote “The Pandemic as a Wake-Up Call for Personal Health”, published on March 15th of 2021 in The New York times, to argue that the pandemic has become the exposing light for the failures within the American people in their journey of improving personal health and to present the issues revolving around food choices in society and show a possible, commonly known, remedy for combating pandemic stress and obesity. Brody successfully argues and builds her credibility with the use of personal and real-world facts from reputable sources, citing compelling research and statistics, and using tonal shifts towards the end of the article to emotionally appeal to the readers to support and increase her credibility in her argument of approaching better personal health through conventional and common methods. 

In her article, Brody first paved the way by stating the effects of the covid-19 pandemic in the real world and the changes it had in the rankings of the mortality rates compared to the other diseases that once was the leading causes of death as her introduction in order to prove the immense toll the outbreak had on the American society. Then she goes on to include other factors of chronic illnesses that affected the conditions of the infection such as obesity, food choices, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. She continued on with addressing the prevalent issues within the food industry and individual food choices by providing statistical research, and personal facts to back up her arguments of combating obesity.

Throughout her article, Brody uses numerous real-world facts from reputable sources to reinforce her credibility and her ethical appeal regarding her arguments on this issue. Brody included linked sources from Covid-19 related articles based on CDC reports from “Jamanetwork: Covid-19 as the Leading Cause of Death in the United States” and “The New York Times: The Coronavirus Outbreak”. Incorporating these sources significantly added to her reliability in her argument and helped the readers become more perceptive to her argument based on the information provided as it created networks of articles to support her claims. It showed that Brody understood and did her homework about the topics of the detrimental effect of the pandemic on personal health which furthered her credibility on this topic. She also used personal experiences from witnessing the changes around the people surrounding her to show her understanding of the issue that poor personal health became more evident throughout the epidemic. Since this outbreak is still ongoing, the readers had first-hand experience and have a clear understanding of the possible impact the pandemic will have upon individuals and their personal health which creates a connection with the author and the reader, making it easier for the author to present her similar personal experiences.  

Brody also strongly appeals to logical attributes by including many facts and research to back up her argumentative ideas about obesity and disease. She points out that based on the “Harris Poll, conducted for the American Psychological Association in late February, it revealed that 42 percent of respondents had gained an average of 29 pandemic-pounds, increasing their Covid risks.” Brody also used her knowledge of the livestock productions and its “major contributions to global warming” along with the fact based on the research of the “carefully designed diet study” by Kevin D. Hall and colleagues at the National Institute of Health that “highly processed fast foods that can prompt people to overeat and raise their risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease” to further add that poor diet and lack of good nutrition from human diets can cause even more health issues that can become more complicated from Corona. She also refers to the interviews with Tom Vilsack, the new secretary of Agriculture, who “put it bluntly…[that] we cannot have the levels of diabetes we have. We cannot have the level of chronic disease...It will literally cripple our country”, along with interviews with “Marion Nestle, professor emerita of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University” who said that improving personal health “is not rocket science” and that it is crucial that there is “a national policy aimed at preventing obesity...and a national campaign to help all Americans get healthier” in order to add strong emphasis and support in her argument of the effects of the prolonging issue of chronic disease in America due to poor maintenance of personal health and the possible solution to combat it.

Along with the strong logical appeals made through research and interviews, Brody effectively makes emotional appeals in the second to last section of her article through her tonal shifts. Her article in the introduction created a contemptuous tone that was noted through words and phrases like “failure”, “nothing anyone can do”, “misguided alliance”, and “self-inflicted wounds” which showed the readers how Brody, a personal health columnist for the New York Times since 1976 also known as the ‘high priestess of health, truly felt about the people in American society who were taking poor care of their personal health. Her goal in this part of her article was to evoke feelings of shame and exposure of the reality of the outcomes to poor health decisions in order to effectively introduce her argument and the serious nature of what the pandemic was able to bring light upon. She transitioned from her critical tone to a formal, informational tone in order to speak clearly on her supporting facts, evidence, and the research proponents of her article to inform her readers.  She makes a final transition to a humorous and candid tone in her second to last section of her article to make a light call to action statement that shows a possible, traditional solution that is further supported in the next final section by the quote from an  interview. Her humor and being candid about her personal health status throughout the pandemic and how she was able to maintain her weight positively impacts the reader into understanding that the method she used is possible and definitely not rocket science. Her article began from pointing out the issues that surfaced from the pandemic, providing evidence supporting her claim, and finally down to another personal experience along with the quote from a reputable source that fully drived her argument home and created a possible solution to leave her audience to try out for themselves.

By the end of her article, Brody was able to effectively and successfully navigate her argument to the reader through appropriate uses of reputable and compelling sources of evidence, research, and tonal shifts of being candid with a bit of humor to end her article on a good note for the readers. Although Brody started off her article with a critical tone, the readers, who are living through the pandemic right now, are able to see that the issue exists and is becoming worse. Therefore the tone that had a scornful drive in the beginning along with the numerous evidence provided right after made a big impact on the readers from the start, and the shift in tone to being straightforward and honest towards the end not only eased the reader into her argument but also left a possible solution of portion control and light exercise to maintain and regulate health.