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Americans are willing to spend billions to lose weight. Marketing products and services to dieters is a cinch, a dream, and a no-brainer big business, and easy money, because more than 120 million or 61% of people in the USA are overweight, obese, or overweight by 30 pounds or more. The common techniques marketers use include testimonials and before/after photos, claims of rapid weight loss, and the promise of no dieting or exercise required. Actors say, ?7 weeks ago I weighed 268 pounds, now I am down to just 148 pounds!?Ads claim: ?You can eat as much as you want and still lose weight.? Another ad claimed: ?You could lose 8 to 10 pounds per week, easily . . . and you won’t gain the weight back afterwards.?


However, the dieter’s dream of being healthy, slim or trim, and attractive was dashed by the Federal Trade Commission in a big way. Newspapers, local and national news all reported the FTC warning that advertisements for weight-loss products and services make ?grossly exaggerated? claims. The agency reviewed 300 weight-loss ads in the previous year and tested 218 dietary supplements, meal replacements, patches, creams, wraps and other weight-loss products and services. The report found that 40% of the ads made at least one representation that was almost certainly false, and 55% made a claim that was very likely false or at least lacked adequate substantiation. The agency had the help of a coalition of representatives of science, academia, health professions, government agencies and public interest groups.


The FTC said that the ads are distracting people from doing things that would help them achieve a healthy body weight. Surgeon General Richard Carmona said, ?There is no miracle pill that will lead to weight loss. Losing weight requires a lifelong commitment to healthful eating and physical activity.? (USA Today 9/18/02 “Weight-loss deception found.?


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