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HEALTHY WEIGHT WEEK
 
What is Healthy Weight Week?
Rid the World of Fad Diets & Gimmicks Day
Slim Chance Awards
Women's Healthy Weight Day and Awards
How to Celebrate Healthy Weight Week
How to Identify Weight Loss Quackery and Fraud
News Releases of Previous Winners

Join Us in Celebrating

Healthy Weight Week

January 19-25, 2014 - 21st Annual
January 21, Tuesday Rid the world of Fad Diets
& Gimmicks Day, 25th annual
January 23, Thursday Women's Healthy Weight Day, 21st annual

The 21st annual Healthy Weight Week is a time to celebrate healthy diet-free living habits that last a lifetime and prevent eating and weight problems.  Our bodies cannot be shaped at will. But we can all be accepting, healthy and happy at our natural weights.

 


Green Mountain at Fox Run
is new Sponsor of Healthy Weight Week


After our many years of spearheading HEALTHY WEIGHT WEEK and its awards, Healthy Weight Network welcomes a new sponsor for the event. A great deal of thought and effort went into this selection. Thanks to you who volunteered help. We are delighted that Marsha Hudnall and her Green Mountain at Fox Run facility in Vermont are willing to take on and expand the mission of Healthy Weight Week.

A registered dietitian, Marsha advocates a sound, science-based approach to health. For the last three decades she has been a voice of reason in helping people move away from diets. We’ve known her for almost that long, pre-dating the awards and even our founding of Healthy Weight Journal. Marsha currently serves on the boards of the Binge Eating Disorder Association and the Center for Mindful Eating and is active in the Association for Size Diversity and Health. Green Mountain has a 40-year history of retreats, classes and workshops on women’s health and wellness, helping women develop a healthy relationship with food, exercise and body image.

This will be a good fit, we feel confident. Under the new leadership Healthy Weight Week will continue its mission to help people understand that health isn’t about numbers—on the scale or otherwise—and to encourage people to stop dieting and pursue livable and sustainable healthy lifestyles through eating well, living actively and feeling good about themselves.

Best wishes to Marsha and the staff at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

Francie M. Berg, MS
Healthy Weight Network

 


 

 

TWITTER NEWS for Jan 20, 2013
Healthy Weight Week honors Israel with award for new law redefining beauty in advertising and fashion.
www.healthyweight.net/hww.htm

 

NEWS BRIEF FOR RELEASE: 1/20/2013
(for FACEBOOK, PSAs, etc.)

Award honors Israel for law redefining beauty

Healthy Weight Week, which begins today, honors Israel with a Healthy Body Image award for its new law that redefines beauty in advertising and on the fashion runway. Other award winners are Julia Bluhm a 14-year-old girl from Waterville, Maine, who took on unrealistically thin images in the teenage fashion magazine Seventeen and Deb Burgard, PhD, a Los Altos, Calif., psychologist and long-time leader in combating weight stigma.
Promoters of the Israeli law that took effect Jan.1 charge that impossible standards promoted by designers and model agencies have led to an epidemic in eating disorders.
“Beautiful is not anorexic,” said Rachel Adato, who helped push through the new ruling. “This law shatters the anorexic ideal, serving as an example for the country’s youth.”
During Healthy Weight Week, people are encouraged to improve health habits in lasting ways and normalize their lives by eating well without dieting, living actively and feeling good about themselves and others. (For more information see www.healthyweight.net/hww.htm )

 

FOR RELEASE: 1/20/2013
Contact: Ronda Fink 701-567-2646

Healthy Weight Week Jan. 20-26, 2013

Award honors Israel for law redefining beauty

HETTINGER, ND, Jan. 20—Healthy Weight Week, which begins today, honors Israel with a Healthy Body Image award for its new law that redefines beauty in advertising and on the fashion runway. Other award winners are a 14-year-old girl who took on unrealistically thin images in a teenage fashion magazine and a long-time leader in combating weight stigma.

Promoters of the Israeli law that took effect Jan.1 charge that impossible standards promoted by designers and model agencies have led to an epidemic in eating disorders.

“Beautiful is not anorexic,” said Rachel Adato, who helped push through the new ruling. “This law shatters the anorexic ideal, serving as an example for the country’s youth.”

During Healthy Weight Week, people are encouraged to improve health habits in lasting ways and normalize their lives by eating well without dieting, living actively and feeling good about themselves and others.

“More people today know the value of size acceptance. They’ve experienced the harmful effects of dieting, idealizing thin models and harassing large children and adults. They’re ready to move on,” said Francie M. Berg, a licensed nutritionist and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, who has chaired Healthy Weight Week since 1992.

“The real weight epidemic in this country is about body dissatisfaction and the unhealthy methods employed to try to change our bodies into what is often completely unrealistic for an individual,” said Marsha Hudnall, MS, RD, who helped select the awards. “These awards recognize people who are leading the change to the benefit of us all.”  Hudnall is the owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run, a pioneering healthy weight center for women.

Berg and Hudnall agree that supporting somewhat larger sizes than the societal ideal makes sound scientific sense.

“Many people are surprised to learn that extensive research at the US Center for Health Statistics, CDC, led by senior statistician Kathleen Flegal and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2005 and again Jan. 2, 2013, shows that overweight persons tend to live the longest. This includes people in a broad range from body mass index of 22 to 40. Most Americans are in this healthy weight range,” said Berg.

Winners of the Healthy Body Image awards for 2013:

n Israel earns the Redefining Beauty award for the “Law for Limiting Weight in the Modeling Industry.” It requires models to present their employers with a doctor’s current certificate showing they meet a minimum BMI—18.5 for adults. Underweight is separately defined for youth below age 18. Advertisements featuring digitally reduced images must be clearly marked in a prominent place as manipulated to make them appear thinner. Promoters of the law say eating disorders in Israel have risen, with globalization and the subsequent import of American goods and culture, to include some 3 percent of Israeli girls between the ages of 11 and 18.

n The award for Promoting a Realistic Body Image goes to 14-year-old Julia Bluhm of Waterville, Maine, who launched a crusade against  airbrushed images in Seventeen magazine. She circulated a petition calling for the magazine to print one unaltered photo spread each month and led a demonstration at the corporate offices of Hearst, which owns the magazine. More than 80,000 signatures came in from around the world, causing the editor Jan Shoket to issue a new policy statement that the magazine “never has, never will” digitally alter the body or face shapes of its models. The entire staff signed an 8-point Body Peace Treaty, she said, promising not to alter natural shapes and include only images of “real girls and models who are healthy.” As a result, other young activists are taking on Teen Vogue in an online petition. However, the pledge does not include advertising, so it’s unclear if the many pages filled with ads will be affected.

n Psychologist Deb Burgard, PhD, Los Altos, Calif., is honored with the Weight Stigma Awareness award for her many years of  leadership in increasing awareness of weight stigma. The co-author of Great Shape: The First Fitness Guide for Large Women, published in 1988, Burgard speaks and writes frequently on the topic of weight stigma and the need for size-acceptance. Burgard co-chairs the Academy for Eating Disorders group on Health at Every Size, is active in both the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) and the Advisory Board for NAAFA, and created the BodyPositive.com website. For large persons, Burgard advises, “You have to strengthen your ‘emotional immune system’ to withstand the culture's nasty messages about femaleness and fatness and failure—and work to change the culture—and there is joy even in this.” 

Healthy Weight Week also showcases the 24th annual Slim Chance Awards for the year’s worst weight-loss products and promotions, which were announced in December. (For more information see www.healthyweight.net/hww.htm )

###

CONTACT:
Ronda Irwin or Francie M. Berg
fmberg@healthyweight.net
701-567-2646
Healthy Weight Network
402 South 14th Street
Hettinger, ND 58639
www.healthyweight.net

MEDIA: To arrange an interview with Francie Berg call 701-567-2646 or email fmberg@healthyweight.net  (please begin subject line with: Berg ...)

FRANCIE M. BERG, MS, serves as chair of Healthy Weight Week, is a licensed nutritionist, adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, and author of 13 books. She created Healthy Weight Network in 1986, which sponsors Healthy Weight Week. Her latest books on weight and eating: "Women Afraid to Eat,” “Children and Teens Afraid to Eat,” and “Underage and Overweight: Our Childhood Obesity Crisis—What Every Family Needs to Know” explore the research behind the obesity and eating crisis and provide programs for parents in raising confident healthy-weight children. (For bio information see  http://www.healthyweight.net/media.htm )

###


NEWS RELEASE: 1/15/2012
Contact: Ronda Fink 701-567-2646                                                                                                                  

Adele tops Women’s Body Image Awards

Healthy Weight Week celebrates Normal Living

HETTINGER , ND , Jan. 15—By the third week in January, New Year diets are dumped, the rebound binge is over and people are looking for balance to get their lives back on track. They can find it in the 19 th annual Healthy Weight Week, Jan. 15 to 21, that promotes normal living and lasting lifestyle habits that prevent weight and eating concerns.

“Healthy Weight Week is a time to say ‘I’m okay and so are you.’ Let’s get on with living in comfortably healthy ways and feeling good about it,” says Francie M. Berg, MS, licensed nutritionist and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, who chairs the event.

Healthy Weight Week features two sets of awards. Winners of the Women’s Healthy Body Image Awards are:

n Adele, a young British singer with a strong contralto voice who wows audiences worldwide. Her record Rolling in the Deep topped Billboard charts, reaching number one in 11 countries, and sold nearly six million copies in the United States, making it the overall best-selling single of 2011in the US. She is nominated for six Grammys, to be awarded Feb. 12 in Los Angeles. Adele is unapologetic about her weight. “I’ve seen people where it rules their lives, how it wears them down. I don’t want that in my life.” Outspoken about loving her body the way it is, she advises, “Be happy and healthy. I like looking nice, but I always put comfort over fashion. I make music to be a musician not to be on the cover of Playboy.” (For a rare treat, experience Adele’s performance of Rolling In The Deep. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow7zrsfCuyk&feature=fvwrel)

n In Favor of Myself continues to evolve as an interactive educational program promoting positive self and body image among youth in Israel. Developed by Prof. Moria Golan, Director of the Management of Eating Disorders, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and now in the process of adaptation into the formal school system, it underwent four years of testing. Analysis shows reduced media influence and appearance focus. The eight sessions explore the impact of consumer culture, adolescent transitions, appearance issues and advertising. Participants learn to identify and counter prejudice and structures that contribute to body preoccupation. They role play, practice positive self-talk, resolve conflict and state their own opinions with confidence. The program builds on the earlier Patch program and is supported in part by the Dove Self Esteem Fund, Unilever. Prof. Golan may be reached at Tel Hai Academic College, Nutritional Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. ISRAEL, TEL: 972547240330;  FAX: 97289348798.

n Nancy Redd’s books Body Drama and Diet Drama redefine beauty for teen girls. Filled with hundreds of photos of real-life girls of varied sizes, they explore real issues and give real answers, such as changes going on during puberty and common sense ways to deal with them. Redd is a dynamic speaker and self-esteem advocate. With humor, authenticity and compassion, she balances the messages of body acceptance and getting healthier, without self-hatred and unrealistic expectations. She says, “I wrote Body Drama so that we could all acknowledge, understand, and celebrate the fact that every body is different, and no matter what size and shape you are, you deal with body drama, and you are not alone!” Her books have been on bestseller lists at both the New York Times and USA Today and are translated into Russian, German and Italian.

The 23 rd annual Slim Chance Awards for the worst diets and promoters of 2011 go to: self-made millionaire Jesse Willms, a 23-year-old Canadian high school dropout, who flooded the English-speaking world with illegal weight-loss scams and then cleaned up by draining credit cards; HCG, a hormone scheme that doesn’t go away despite 50 years of legal wrangling; Sensa weight-loss crystals that, sprinkled on food, supposedly induce an average loss of over 30 pounds in six months with no dieting, exercise or food restriction; and a plastic bracelet set with hologram discs claimed to give off vibes that stimulate weight loss. ( www.healthyweight.net/hww.htm )

“The difficulty in all this—resisting the chaos of dieting and quack pills—is that self-acceptance is so hard,” says Berg. “People know diets don’t work, but many feel desperate to lose weight. And it’s doubly difficult when the media tells us daily that ‘thinner is healthier.’”

Berg notes that research fails to confirm this. “It’s a message driven by special interests, not health. In fact, sound federal research finds that people with a few extra pounds tend to live longer.”

The defining federal study, led by Katherine Flegal, PhD, senior research scientist at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, looked at actual deaths in the U.S. over a 30-year period. Flegal and her colleagues used a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population with measured weights and heights, so results were scientifically valid, as compared with those of researchers who relied on theoretical constructs or volunteers with self-reported, mailed-in questionnaires. The CDC study finds Americans live longest within a broad weight range from a BMI of about 22 to 40. Flegal said she and her colleagues analyzed their data in a variety of ways, including with and without smokers and people who had chronic diseases. The results always came out the same: there was no mortality risk associated with overweight or even mild obesity. Thinness conferred no benefits and when below the healthy range found linked to higher risk. ( http://www.healthyweight.net/cntrovsy.htm#2 ) Researchers in Canada and Japan reported similar findings.

During Healthy Weight Week, people are encouraged to normalize their lives and improve health habits in lasting ways by eating well, living actively and feeling good about themselves and others.
##

(For more information see www.healthyweight.net/hww.htm )

CONTACT:
Ronda Irwin or Francie M. Berg
fmberg@healthyweight.net
701-567-2646
Healthy Weight Network
402 South 14th Street
Hettinger, ND 58639
www.healthyweightnetwork.com

MEDIA: To arrange an interview with Francie Berg call 701-567-2646 or email fmberg@healthyweight.net  (please begin subject line with: Berg ...)

FRANCIE M. BERG, MS, serves as chair of Healthy Weight Week, is a licensed nutritionist, adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, and author of 12 books. Her latest book "Underage and Overweight: Our Childhood Obesity Crisis – What Every Family Needs to Know” explores the facts behind the obesity crisis and provides a seven-point program for raising confident healthy-weight children. (For bio information see  http://www.healthyweight.net/media.htm )

 

 

 

FOR RELEASE DEC 30, 2011


Weight loss schemes are more lucrative than ever!
The Worst Diets of 2011

HETTINGER, ND, Dec 30—Healthy Weight Network released its 23 rd Slim Chance Awards today highlighting four of the worst diets and diet promotions of the year.

“Weight loss schemes are more lucrative and offensive than ever,” said Francie M. Berg, a licensed nutritionist and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, chair of the event. “Here is a self-made millionaire—a 23-year-old high school dropout—who flushed the English-speaking world with illegal weight-loss scams and then cleaned up by draining credit cards.”

Another scam is a dangerous and illegal hormone treatment that just doesn’t quit despite 50 years of legal wrangling with the FDA and FTC. Like Jason in a Slasher movie it keeps coming back and back—long after it seems defeated.

Here are the 23rd annual Slim Chance Awards:

MOST OUTRAGEOUS: Jesse Willms, the Canadian owner of Just Think Media. Willms is a multi-millionaire connected to more than 40 product and company names. The 23-year-old high school dropout is charged with deceiving people like Candice Rozak of Edmunton who ordered a free trial of a diet pill called Acai Burn that required only a small handling fee and later found her credit card depleted of nearly $700. It’s a major international problem says Canada's Anti-Fraud Call Centre. The FTC in the U.S. agrees and is suing Willms and his associates—who collected more than $450 million from online consumers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. The complaint says Willms sold at least 15 brands of acai berry weight-loss pills, six brands of colon cleansers and supplements containing resveratrol—all marketed with false or misleading claims. Promised money-back guarantees were often ignored. Despite the efforts of credit card companies and banks the money kept flowing through shell companies and manipulation of payment data.

WORST GIMMICK: The “Pure Energy Weight Loss plus Energy Band.” This plastic bracelet embeds green and silver hologram discs claimed to give off vibes that resonate throughout the body and stimulate weight loss and health. Among the alleged results are decreased appetite, balanced metabolism, balanced hormones¸ enhanced energy flow, increased energy levels and the promotion of positive emotions. A testimonial declares, “Since I bought my Pure Energy Band I have lost over 83Lbs and I feel fantastic.” Furthermore a disc does not even need to touch the skin—apparently it can hover at some distance. Supposedly, to be effective it “only needs to be within the body’s natural energy field. For most people, that is within two inches of the body.”

WORST CLAIM: Sensa weight-loss crystals. The Sensa website states boldly that users can lose an average of 30.5 pounds in six months without dieting, exercise, food restrictions or drastic lifestyle changes—by merely sprinkling these weight-loss crystals on their food. It claims that Sensa has been “clinically proven.” Smell and taste receptors supposedly send the brain messages to tell your body to stop eating. It “activates a hunger-control switch in the brain and you “eat less and feel more satisfied… no feelings of hunger or intense cravings.” Class-action suits have been filed in California and Texas against the marketers of Sensa, developed by Chicago neurologist Alan Hirsch, M.D. and sold by California-based Sensa Products. The California complaint states that (a) there is no competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate these claims and (b) an expert who reviewed Sensa's main clinical study judged it “beyond worthless.”

WORST PRODUCT: HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin. HCG was first introduced more than 50 years ago by British physician Dr. Albert Simeon who claimed the hormone, found in the urine of pregnant women, would mobilize stored fat, suppress appetite and redistribute fat. He contended that regular injections would enable dieters to live comfortably on a 500-calorie-a-day diet. For a time, these weekly injections were the most widespread obesity medication administered in the US. In the mid-70s the FDA and FTC effectively shut them down by ordering the Simeon clinics to stop claiming their programs were safe and effective, and requiring they inform patients in writing that there was no evidence HCG increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction.” More recently infomercial king Kevin Trudeau took up the cudgel. His 2007 book claims HCG is "an absolute cure for obesity discovered almost fifty years ago,” but “suppressed" by medical experts and the FDA. HCG is heavily marketed online and in retail outlets as oral drops, pellets, and sprays, while injections for weight loss continue. Labeling states that each should be taken in conjunction with a very-low-calorie-diet which, the FDA noted, can trigger gallstone formation, electrolyte imbalance and abnormal heart rhythms. (HCG is approved as an injectable prescription drug for the treatment of some cases of female infertility and other medical conditions.) In December the FDA and FTC jointly warned six companies that it is illegal to market over-the counter HCG products labeled as "homeopathic" for weight loss. This is considered a first step in halting sales (Dec 6, 2011).

“Deceptive advertising about weight loss products is one of the most prevalent types of fraud,” said David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

The new marketing is so lucrative and people with weight concerns so vulnerable that case-by-case enforcement action has little impact, quackwatchers say. To improve the situation, our society needs a plan that includes screening of certain types of ads, publicly exposing sellers placed on the Visa/MasterCard Match list and routine criminal prosecution of violators.

The Slim Chance awards are sponsored by Healthy Weight Network and the National Council Against Health Fraud. They are a lead-up to “Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day” during Healthy Weight Week, the third week in January ( www.healthyweight.net/hww.htm ).
###

For more information see www.healthyweight.net

MEDIA: To arrange an interview with Francie Berg email fmberg@healthyweight.net   (please begin subject line with: Berg ….) or call 701-567-2646.

Francie M. Berg, MS
Healthy Weight Network
402 South 14th Street
Hettinger, ND 58639
701-567-2646
fmberg@healthyweight.net
www.healthyweight.net

 

 

NEWS RELEASE: 1/16/2011               Ronda Irwin 701-567-2646                                                                                                 

Healthy Weight Week
Jan. 16–22
Celebrates
Positive Body Image

2011 winners address disordered eating concerns

HETTINGER, ND, Jan. 16—Ours is a culture in which thinness is idealized, even at the cost of health, especially for women. So we should not be surprised that almost half of 3rd to 6th grade girls yearn to be thinner, and that 50 percent of teen girls develop a significant eating disturbance at some point in their adolescence, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.  American kids worry about weight, fear that food will make them fat, and often eat in ways detrimental to their health and well being. Many say they “hate” their bodies.

Healthy Weight Week, Jan. 16-22, combats this by celebrating healthy nondiet lifestyles that can prevent eating and weight problems. During the week, people are encouraged to improve health habits in lasting ways: to eat well, live actively and feel good about themselves and others. It’s a time to celebrate the diversity of real people and help them shift focus from failed weight loss efforts to health at their natural sizes.

“Health experts are just beginning to recognize the risks taken by both women and men in their efforts to diet down to thin ideals. The body resists powerfully and closes down into an unnatural, stressed state,” said Francie M. Berg, a licensed nutritionist and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine whose organization Healthy Weight Network started Healthy Weight Week 18 years ago. “For vulnerable individuals, this can lead to clinical eating disorders.”

Eating disorders are widespread in our society and difficult to treat successfully, yet few schools address the problem, even though most provide extensive drug and alcohol prevention programs. An estimated 10 percent of young women suffer from eating disorders. Only about half recover fully, and up to 10 percent of those with anorexia nervosa may die from related causes. The National Association reports unprecedented growth of the disorder in the past two decades, a younger age of onset and that increasingly boys and men are affected.

Prevention programs to reduce risk factors address our cultural obsession with thinness, the roles of men and women in our society and the development of positive body image in ways that transcend physical appearance.

Healthy Weight Week features two sets of awards. Healthy Body Image Awards go to:

* A Chance to Heal. Focused on three major areas—middle and high school students, adults and families, and the health care community— A Chance to Heal hosts programs throughout the year, primarily in the Philadelphia area. Interactive workshops include The Body Project, a four-session preventive program based on dissonance intervention, refined and evaluated for more than 16 years and shown to reduce eating disorders risk factors; Body Talk, leader training for healthcare providers and educators; and ParentTalk, conversational workshops for parents. (http://achancetoheal.org )

* In Favor of Myself. This innovative preventive program to promote positive self and body image is widely disseminated among youth in Israel. Initially designed for a youth organization, it has become popular among counselors and teachers who serve as change agents in schools. Offers eight sessions of interactive verbal and non verbal activities. Empowering techniques include assessing advertising and its hidden marketing strategies, positive self-talk, dramatization and conflict resolution. Assessment shows reduced media influence and appearance focus. Leader kits in Hebrew.

* Healthy Body Image curriculum, 4th-6th grade. This widely-used school program was designed by Kathy Kater, LICSW, a psychotherapist, author and consultant, specializing in body image, eating, fitness and weight problems. Students learn to develop positive body images, appreciate inner strengths over appearance, resist unhealthy messages on weight, appearance, fitness and food, and adopt the building blocks for a healthy lifestyle. The 11 sessions are based on Kater’s book “Healthy Body Image:Teaching Kids to Eat and Love Their Bodies Too!” and a companion volume for parents. (http://www.bodyimagehealth.org )

* Body Rocks. A peer education group, Body Rocks is devoted to positive body image and eating disorders prevention in schools and communities. Created by Ann Marie Perone, a teacher at Valley High School in Las Vegas in 2006, the club hosts Eating Disorders Awareness Week and other special events. Most recently a balloon release symbolically helped students send off negative feelings and self talk, and emphasized the benefits of positive body image and self esteem.

Another of the week’s events, “Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day,” features the Slim Chance Awards for the worst weight loss products and promotions of 2010. Announced in December, these include: a laser light treatment with Lapex BCS Lipo Laser for spot reduction (worst gimmick); HCG, a pregnancy-related hormone placed under the tongue to mobilize fat (worst product);  Ultimate Cleanse that cashes in on a non-existent problem—detoxifying the body (worst claim); and a marketer of bogus products, Basic Research, which boasts a long history of Federal Trade Commission violations, warnings, charges and fines (most outrageous). See www.healthyweight.net/fraud.htm for a 22-year history of Slim Chance fads and frauds.

To avoid eating and weight problems, the National Eating Disorders Association recommends eating in normal ways, as does a small child: “Eat what you want, when you are truly hungry. Stop when you’re full. Do this instead of any diet, and you are unlikely to ever have a weight problem, let alone an eating disorder.” (For more information see www.healthyweight.net/hww.htm )
-30-

CONTACT:
Francie M. Berg
fmberg@healthyweight.net
701-567-2646
Healthy Weight Network
402 South 14th Street
Hettinger, ND 58639
www.healthyweightnetwork.com

MEDIA: To arrange an interview with Francie Berg call 701-567-2646 or email fmberg@healthyweight.net  (please begin subject line with: Berg ...)

FRANCIE M. BERG, MS, serves as chair of Healthy Weight Week, is a licensed nutritionist, adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, and author of 12 books. Her latest book "Underage and Overweight: Our Childhood Obesity Crisis – What Every Family Needs to Know” explores the facts behind the obesity crisis and provides a 7-point plan for raising confident healthy-weight children. (For bio information see  http://www.healthyweight.net/media.htm )

 

ANNOUNCING

22nd Annual SLIM CHANCE Awards!

The WORST weight loss products of 2010


FOR RELEASE DEC 28, 2010


Lose fat by shining a laser lamp on it? Slim Chance!
Worst weight loss products and promotions of 2010



HETTINGER, ND, Dec 28 –A laser light that melts fat when it “opens the fat cells—right through your skin; the … stuff comes out.” A liquid dropped under the tongue that promises a pound or two of daily weight loss with, by the way, a 500-calorie diet. These are two of the worst weight loss products of 2010 as selected by Healthy Weight Network and the National Council Against Health Fraud from nominations by health professionals and consumers.


The 22nd annual Slim Chance Awards were announced today by Francie M. Berg, a licensed nutritionist, adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, and chair of the selection committee.

In this year when the FDA declined approval for two weight loss drugs and forced withdrawal of another, Meridia, after 13 years of known risk for heart attack and stroke, one might think questionable diets are under control.

Not so, says Berg. It’s a slippery slope for law enforcement, with loopholes open for the supplement industry. “Dubious products have proliferated so widely today that three of our four selections represent not just one, but numerous products and companies,” said Berg. “Basic Research alone has an 18-year history of Federal Trade Commission violations, warnings, charges and fines.”

Here are the 22nd annual Slim Chance Awards.

WORST CLAIM: Ultimate Cleanse
Ultimate Cleanse cashes in on a popular quack theme: the body must be detoxified regularly to get rid of wastes and toxins. An ideal scam, this notion sets up a problem that doesn't exist and puts forth a solution to snare the gullible. If it were true, people would not survive, as one FDA agent pointed out: the body is naturally self-cleaning. Aside from their basic silliness, cleansing programs are often high-risk, containing potent laxatives. Ultimate Cleanse combines cascara sagrada, a harsh laxative that in 2002 was banned as an ingredient in over-the-counter drugs, in a mix of herbs and fibers said to produce “2-3 bowel movements per day, while sweeping, toning, and cleansing the digestive and eliminative system.” Supposedly it cleanses in five areas (bowel, liver, kidneys, lungs and skin) as well as bloodstream, cells and body tissues. An Arizona man who used Ultimate Cleanse is suing the maker and seller charging that it caused perforation of his colon requiring two operations; his surgeon believes the perforation was caused by cascara segrada. There is no proven safe or effective dose for cascara, derived from the bark of a buckthorn plant. Long-term use may lead to potassium depletion, blood in the urine, disturbed heart function, muscle weakness, finger clubbing and cachexia (extreme weight loss). Regular use is linked to increased risk of hepatitis and colorectal cancer. Though banned as a drug, cascara sells in dietary supplements through a legal loophole.

WORST PRODUCT: HCG Supplements

In a resurge in popularity of HCG injections among some practitioners and spas, this 1950s weight loss method has spawned excitement in the supplement field, as well. HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone produced during pregnancy, is claimed to reset the hypothalamus, improve metabolism and mobilize fat stores. However, there is no scientific evidence supporting HCG treatment as a weight or fat loss strategy. In its herbal versions, HCG drops are placed under the tongue (5 drops times 6 times a day or 10 drops, 3 times). Advertisers claim, “You easily can lose 1-2 pounds per day safely! Shed Excess Fat … HCG resets your hypothalamus so that your weight loss is permanent!” “HCG will melt fat permanently while maintaining muscle tone.” HCG does all this, it is claimed, without exercise. The caveat: the program requires a semi-starvation diet of 500 calories a day, with attendant severe risks to long-term health and almost guaranteed weight rebound. Further, the HCG program often begins with a liquid fast detox period. Common short-term effects include fatigue, headache, mood swings, depression, confusion, dizziness and stomach pain.

MOST OUTRAGEOUS: Basic Research LLC
Basic Research, marketer of bogus products, carries an extensive history of FTC warnings, charges, fines and on-going lawsuits against multiple products. Basic Research, also doing business as Carter-Reed Company, has been a plaintiff or defendant in more than 40 suits filed in federal court in the past five years. In 2006, the FTC ordered the company to pay $3 million on behalf of six companies and three principals. Together with one of these, Akävar , Basic Research faces a class-action suit based on new charges for violating that order. Most recently Basic Research is being sued for false advertising in marketing “Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control” (Take Two Capsules Before Main Meals And You Lose Weight). Michaels, star and coach on the reality show, the Biggest Loser, gained a reputation as a credible fitness instructor before stumbling into the supplement quagmire, from which she now promotes her own Calorie Control, Fat Burner, Body Detox and Cleanse, and QuickStart Rapid Weight Loss System, marketing with Basic Research. (http://www.dietscam.org/reports/michaels.shtml ) Founded in 1992, based in Salt Lake City, Basic Research is listed as an international importer and wholesaler specializing in supplements, with an estimated annual income of $10.5 million.

WORST GIMMICK: Lapex BCS Lipo Laser

With full page advertisements in daily newspapers, LipoLaser promoters promise: “Lose 3 ½ - 7 inches of fat in 3 weeks. … proven inches lost, without diet or exercise … the LipoLaser is the only non-diet, non-invasive, pain-free way to lose inches of fat ... all effortlessly and easily.” Credible studies are missing to show this works. Supposedly, shining the lighted device on a pocket of fat gives results “almost exactly the same as exercise” only instead of “hormones opening the fat cells with exercise, the Laser light opens the fat cells—right through your skin. The same stuff comes out of the fat cells.” So excess fat is released and the fat cells shrink, or so it is claimed. The FDA classifies the device as an infrared lamp rather than a laser, so likely it is harmless. Yet the price is hefty: $1497 (on special 50% reduction) up to $5000 for the typical program of nine one-hour sessions. An online diet review site rates the LipoLaser treatment negatively, along with a user’s report, “Young girls administer the treatment and do not give you any eye protection even though they have warnings on the walls that laser is in process. I have had no good results for my $4000 and I want my money back. This is one of the biggest scams out there.” A self-identified professional confessed that about 80% of the “guests” who completed their series were dissatisfied with results.

Berg advises consumers to skip the quick fixes and false promises and move ahead with lasting healthy eating and physical activity habits. “Learn to enjoy, but don’t limit yourself to, wholegrain foods, plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean meats, fish, poultry, beans and low-fat dairy foods. And don’t forget to energize yourself with regular physical activity.”

The Slim Chance awards are part of the lead-up to “Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day” during Healthy Weight Week, the third week in January.


###

For more information see www.healthyweight.net/hww.htm
MEDIA: To arrange an interview with Francie Berg email fmberg@healthyweight.net  (please begin subject line with: Berg ….) or call 701-567-2646.

Francie M. Berg
Healthy Weight Network
402 South 14th Street
Hettinger, ND 58639
701-567-2646
fmberg@healthyweight.net
www.healthyweight.net

 

RELEASED in JANUARY 17, 2010
HEALTHY WEIGHT WEEK JAN 17-23, 2010
                                                                           

Women’s Healthy Weight
Awards announced

Body Image concerns addressed by Jan. 2010 winners

Today, you can hardly open a newspaper or turn on TV without hearing about the problems of overweight in America and the benefits of being thin. But this is a distortion, said Francie M. Berg, a licensed nutritionist and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, in announcing the awards for the 17th annual Healthy Weight Week, celebrated Jan 17-23 this year.

The Womens’ Healthy Weight awards aim to change that message by encouraging advertisers and television producers to portray healthy, active women in a wider range of sizes.

Respecting size diversity makes sound scientific sense, Berg explained.

”Surprisingly, research at our own national Centers of Disease Control shows the ‘healthiest’ weight is in a broad range from a body mass index of 22 up to 40. It’s the weight at which people live the longest. The overweight category is smack in the middle of this, and it extends out both ways, even into obesity grades 1 and 2. Most Americans are within this healthy weight range.”

The CDC study, led by Katherine Flegal, PhD, senior research scientist at the Center for Health Statistics, looked at actual deaths in the United States over a 30-year period, unlike earlier studies that relied on estimates and predictions. They were analyzed in a variety of ways, both with and without smokers and people who had chronic diseases. Flegal said the results always came out the same: There was no mortality risk from being overweight and little from being obese, except at the extreme end. Research in Canada and Japan finds the same results.

In emphasizing the value of supporting size diversity, Berg points out that the thinness ideal causes a great deal of pain and unhealthy behavior in women. Research shows it fosters eating disorders and body image disturbance.

Winners of the 2010 Women’s Healthy Weight awards are honored for their positive portrayal of women of all sizes.

** BEST PROGRAM: QUEBEC CHARTER for HEALTHY AND DIVERSE BODY. Quebec’s fashion industry has agreed to regulate itself to promote a healthier image of women, said the province’s culture minister in introducing this new document Oct. 16, 2009. Developed in collaboration between fashion and media industries and the government, it calls for a change in mentality about the image portrayed in the media. Signers of the pledge recognize that “beauty ideals based on extreme slimness can harm self-esteem, particularly in girls and women.” They “encourage partners from all fields – governments, community organizations, and corporations – to work together to help diminish social pressure in the interest of a healthy and egalitarian society.” The charter includes seven avenues for action, with pledges to: promote a healthy diversity of body images, including different heights, proportions and ages; discourage excessive weight-control practices or appearance modification; and act as agents of change to promote healthy eating and weight-control practices and realistic body images.

** BEST TV SHOW: THE #1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY. Solving mysteries and crimes in Botswana, this HBO series stars the charming and confident, “traditionally-built” Mma Ramotswe and a cast of characters who truly are in a variety of sizes, no apologies. It’s a quirky whodunit adapted from Alexander McCall Smith’s hit mystery novels. Filmed in Africa, the diversity of this show is strikingly different from those that star a token large woman in a cast of thin people. The #1 Detective does much more than this, and it has a great deal to teach the Western world. (How long before shows featuring a variety of ordinary-size people will be filmed in the United States?)

The second set of Healthy Weight Week awards – the Slim Chance Awards for the worst weight loss products of the year – were announced Dec. 29, 2009, and will be featured on “Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day,” Jan. 19.  They are: Worst Product, Hydroxycut; Worst Claim, the QVC shopping channel; Worst Gimmick, Kinoki Foot Pads. The Most Outrageous – and dangerous – is an entire class of 69 tainted weight loss products that FDA said are spiked with powerful hidden drugs not listed on the label.
( www.healthyweight.net/fraud.htm )

Berg’s organization Healthy Weight Network started the Slim Chance Awards 21 years ago, and the Women’s Healthy Weight awards, along with Healthy Weight Week, 17 years ago.

Healthy Weight Week promotes a lasting healthy, diet-free lifesyle that helps prevent eating and weight problems. Handouts are available on the educational website www.healthyweight.net (click handouts).

Models pose at press conference launching the Quebec Charter.
Photo by Dario Ayala, The Gazette, Canwest News Service,
Vancouver Sun.

REFERENCES
Flegal KM, Graubard BI, Williamson DF, Gail MH. Excess Deaths Associated With Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity. JAMA. 2005;293:1861-1867 (April 20, 2005). www.jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/293/15/1861.pdf

Additional references and information on the educational website:
http://www.healthyweight.net/cntrovsy.htm#2 (click Flegal research)

More references on request.

# # #

FOR MORE INFORMATION on Healthy Weight Week see ww.healthyweight.net/hww.htm

MEDIA: To arrange an interview call 701-567-2646 or email fmberg@healthyweight.net  (please begin subject line with: Berg).

CONTACT: Ronda Irwin
Healthy Weight Network
402 South 14th Street
Hettinger, ND 58639
701-567-2646
fmberg@healthyweight.net
www.healthyweight.net

 

FOR RELEASE: DECEMBER 29, 2009                                                                                   

Worst diet scams of 2009 stung
by 21st Slim Chance Awards

Diet pills sold as food supplements are secretly spiked with powerful drugs
                         

HETTINGER, N.D
. – “Diet pills are more dangerous than ever,” said Francie M. Berg, a licensed nutritionist and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, today in announcing the worst diet scams of 2009. This year the 21st Slim Chance Awards reveal the greatly-increased risks of taking weight loss pills spiked with powerful illegal drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration warns that many dietary supplements today are laced with potent drugs and toxic substances not listed on the label. The agency recently cited 69 tainted weight loss products, most originating in China, and says there may be hundreds more.

“How many deaths must occur before we demand federal approval before a new drug-like product is sold, as required in the European Union?” Berg asked. Her organization, Healthy Weight Network, started the annual Slim Chance Awards 21 years ago to alert the public to the glut of unsafe weight loss products on the market.

“Instead, Congress keeps loopholes open for the supplement industry with all its faults. New pills like these are rushed onto the market with impunity and FDA is required to jump through a long series of hoops to get them off, even after fraud is proved.”

On a lengthy case-by-case basis, this can include warning letters, requests for removal, fines, seizure, injunction and finally criminal charges.

All in all, it was a high risk year for those easily seduced by diet scams. Here are the 21st Slim Chance Awards:

  • Worst Product: Hydroxycut. FDA warns consumers to immediately stop using Hydroxycut products from Iovate Health Sciences USA, a distributor for the Canadian company of the same name. FDA has received reports of one death due to liver failure and 23 reports of serious health problems ranging from jaundice and elevated liver enzymes to liver damage requiring liver transplant. Other problems include seizures, cardiovascular disorders and rhabdomyolysis, a type of muscle damage that can lead to other serious health problems such as kidney failure. Iovate has agreed to recall 14 hydroxycut products from the market. Their claims are that the diet products decrease body fat, control appetite, cause weight loss, enhance energy and that users can "lose up to 4-5 times the weight than diet and exercise alone."

  • Most Outrageous: Pills spiked with powerful undisclosed drugs. This year FDA found so many diet pills secretly laced with powerful drugs that it was impossible for the Slim Chance selection panel to single out any, and could only group them together as “dangerous and outrageous.” FDA cited 69 weight loss “supplements” containing hidden, potentially harmful drugs or toxic substances, most imported from China, and says there may be hundreds more. In an analysis of 28 weight-loss products FDA found sibutramine (a controlled substance) in all of them; some also contained rimonabant, phenytoin or phenolphthalein. Sibutramine is associated with high blood pressure, seizures, tachycardia, palpitations, heart attack and stroke, and the potency in the pills tested as high as three times prescription doses. Rimonabant (not approved in the U.S.), has been linked to five deaths and 720 adverse reactions in Europe during the past two years, and to increased risk of seizures, depression, anxiety, insomnia, aggressiveness and suicidal thoughts. In October the European Medicines Agency recommended halting all sales of the drug. Phenolphthalein is a suspected cancer causing agent. FDA warned consumers not to buy or use any of the 28 products. (For more information go to www.fda.gov and search “tainted weight loss pills.”)

  • Worst Claim: QVC shopping network. The popular TV home shopping channel QVC, one of the world’s largest multimedia retailers, has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it made false and unsubstantiated claims about four weight loss products. Charges are that QVC aired approximately 200 programs in which such claims were made about For Women Only weight loss pills, Lite Bites weight-loss food bars and shakes, Bee-Alive Royal Jelly, and Lipofactor Cellulite Target Lotion. This is not the first time the shopping channel has been charged with deception; QVC is in violation of a 2000 FTC order barring it from making deceptive claims. The latest claims say the products can cause significant long-term weight loss, prevent dietary fat from being absorbed, prevent carbohydrates from being stored as fat, reduce cellulite and decrease size or arms, legs and abdomens.

  • Worst Gimmick: Kinoki Foot Pads. FTC is suing the marketers of Kinoki Foot Pads with deceptive advertising for their claims that applying the pads to the soles of feet at night will remove heavy metals, metabolic wastes, toxins, parasites, chemicals and cellulite from people’s bodies. The ads also claim that the foot pads can treat depression, fatigue, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. All this is based on the quack theory of reflexology, which holds that specific areas of the feet affect specifid organs and glands. Since the foot pads darken, this is claimed as evidence that toxins are being drawn out of the body, but investigators show the darkening is caused by moisture and has nothing to do with "toxins." For more, see "Detoxification" schemes and scams, at www.quackwatch.org .

The Slim Chance Awards are part of the lead-up to “Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day” during Healthy Weight Week, which falls on January 17 to 23 in 2010.  Find more information at: www.healthyweight.net/hww.htm

###

FOR MORE INFORMATION
see www.healthyweight.net/hww.htm

MEDIA:
To arrange an interview call 701-567-2646 or email fmberg@healthyweight.net  (please begin subject line with: Berg ….).

CONTACT:
Healthy Weight Network
701-567-2646
402 South 14th Street
Hettinger, ND 58639
www.healthyweight.net

- END –


HWW AWARDS RELEASED LAST YEAR ON JAN. 18, 2009

Healthy Weight Week awards announced

Body Image concerns addressed by 2009 winners

This is the year people are getting serious about healthy body image, about preventing eating disorders and normalizing their lives. They can find help by celebrating Healthy Weight Week, Jan. 18 to 24, and by tuning in to the messages of this year’s winners of the Women’s Healthy Weight awards.

 “We really feel good about the winners this year. They are passionate about body acceptance; no mixed messages here,” said Francie M. Berg, a licensed nutritionist and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, in announcing the awards today. Her organization Healthy Weight Network started Healthy Weight Week 16 years ago.

The Women’s Healthy Weight awards honor organizations that support size diversity and positive body image. Both 2009 winners have initiated comprehensive programs to prevent eating disorders and combat the destructive effects of thin female ideals.

“The hysteria over weight is beginning to die down,” Berg said. “More people are seeing the value of acceptance and respect. They have experienced the harmful effects of idealizing thin models and harassing large children and adults.”

The 2009 award winners are:

  • Best program: Reflections Body Image Program
    Endorsed by the Academy of Eating Disorders, Reflections was co-developed by the Delta Delta Delta Fraternity, Carolyn Becker, PhD, FAED, and the local sororities of Trinity University in San Antonio, It is a research-based program that combats the ultra thin media model of female beauty prevalent in today’s society. As part of its national launching, Tri Delta shared a key message with women across the nation by creating Fat Talk Free Week and a viral video email aimed at raising consciousness about Fat Talk and body dissatisfaction among women. Reflections consists of peer-led small group sessions run on campuses, trains student leaders and professionals, and fosters research. It has significantly improved body image perceptions and decreased eating disorder risk factors on campuses (e.g., 48% of women at one college who said they “felt fat almost every day” reported 8 months later they felt that way never or less than half the time). (www.reflectionsprogram.org and www.bodyimageprogram.org)


  • Best Website: www.loveyourbody.nowfoundation.org. The National Organization for Women Foundation gives girls and women tools and encouragement on the Love your Body website to “just say no” to destructive media images, and helps raise awareness about women's health, body image and self-esteem. The important thing is “to be healthy and love yourself regardless of what the scale says.” The site features suggestions for campus activities on how to treat your body with respect, mentoring, articles, a poster contest, positive and negative ads, and activism options on dealing with advertising, clothing stores and the media. This year NOW will collaborate with the Reflections program to sponsor Fat Talk Free Week in October, during which NOW promotes its own Love your Body day. “Sex, Stereotypes and Beauty,” a PowerPoint showing the destructive effect of offensive ads, is available at (http://loveyourbody.nowfoundation.org/presentations)

So what is fat talk? “Fat Talk includes both negative (‘I'm too fat to wear this outfit’) and seemingly positive statements (‘You look great – have you lost weight?’),” explains Dr. Becker.

“Fat talk harms women and girls on a daily basis. It insidiously reinforces the unattainable thin-ideal standard of female beauty that contributes to eating disorders and body dissatisfaction,” she said. “A key Reflections message is: Friends don't let friends fat talk.”

The second set of Healthy Weight Week awards – the Slim Chance Awards for the worst weight loss products of the year – is presented on Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day, Jan. 20. They are: Kevin Trudeau infomercials, Most Outrageous; Skineez jeans, Worst Gimmick; AbGONE, Worst Claim; and Kimkins diet, Worst Product. (For more information see below and at www.healthyweight.net/fraud.htm )

Healthy Weight Week promotes healthy diet-free living habits that last a lifetime and help prevent eating and weight problems, said Berg. “Our bodies cannot be shaped at will. But we can all be accepting, healthy and happy at our natural weights.” Handouts on healthy living at any size are available at www.healthyweightnetwork.com (click handouts).

###

CONTACT:
Healthy Weight Network
fmberg@healthyweight.net
701-567-2646
402 South 14th Street
Hettinger, ND 58639
www.healthyweightnetwork.com

MEDIA: To arrange an interview call 701-567-2646 or email fmberg@healthyweight.net  (please begin subject line with: Berg interview..).

- END –

 

NEWS RELEASE - Dec. 29, 2008

Worst Diet Promotions of 2008
snag 20th Annual Slim Chance Awards

HETTINGER, ND – Healthy Weight Network released its 20th annual Slim Chance Awards today, highlighting both the hidden dangers of diets and supplements that often contain unknown ingredients and sometimes potent drugs, and the merely ridiculous.

To call 2008 a typical year in the weight loss field would be too easy. This year’s awards go to an infamous huckster of diet infomercials, known for his outrageous disregard of injunctions against him; $139 body-shaping jeans impregnated with substances that supposedly reduce cellulite; a pill that’s “proven” to help your belly fat vanish; and a dangerous starvation diet launched recklessly on the Internet with promises of safe, fast and permanent weight loss.

All in all, a typical year that synthesizes all that is deceptive and exploitive in this field. So, here they are, the 20th annual Slim Chance Awards:


MOST OUTRAGEOUS CLAIM: Kevin Trudeau infomercials. It’s rare that regulatory agencies look at books, given our free speech laws, but the infomercials for Kevin Trudeau’s weight loss book and his repeated violations were just too much for the Federal Trade Commission, and this past August he was fined over $5 million and banned from infomercials for three years. In “willful efforts” to deceive, Trudeau told listeners they could easily follow the diet protocol at home, even though his book calls for human growth hormone injections and colonics that must be done by a licensed practitioner. The tortured case began in 1998 when FTC charged Trudeau with false and misleading diet infomercials. In 2003 he was charged with false claims; in 2004 he was fined $2 million and banned from infomercials. Again in 2007 a contempt action said he misled thousands with false claims for his weight loss book “in flagrant violation” of court orders.


WORST GIMMICK:  Skineez jeans ($139). A new item in the fight against cellulite, Skineez jeans are impregnated with a so-called “medication” of retinol and chitosan, a shellfish product once claimed to cut fat absorption in the stomach (see 1999 Slim Chance Awards). Friction between the jeans and skin supposedly triggers release of the substance, which goes to work on fat when absorbed through the skin. Reportedly a big hit in Europe, the “smart fabric” is also used in lingerie. Ironically, the creators of Skineez, Clothes for a Cause, profess to raise funds for breast cancer and “a wide range of other socially conscious charities.” So while the company hoodwinks women into buying an expensive pair of jeans, it promises they can “do good with every purchase … As our sales grow, so will our ability to help others.” FTC, however, is clear about such gimmicks, emphasizing that products worn or rubbed on the skin do not cause weight loss or fat loss.


WORST CLAIM: AbGONE. Throughout 2008 full page ads assaulted the eye in daily newspapers across the country touting AbGONE as “proven to promote pot belly loss.”  Claims are that AbGONE increases “fat metabolism” and calorie burn, promotes appetite suppression and inhibits future abdominal fat deposits. These are drug claims that, if true, would alter the body’s regulation, but unlike drugs, the pills are sold as food supplements not requiring FDA approval. The bold ads feature the obligatory before and after shots of models, cut-away sketches of the abdomen with and without belly fat, and a white-coated researcher with chart purportedly confirming success of 5 times reduction in fat mass, 4 times lower BMI, 4 times greater weight loss than placebo. No added diet and exercise needed – well, except, you may want to heed the fine print disclaimer at the bottom that reminds us “diet and exercise are essential.”

WORST PRODUCT: Kimkins diet. It must have seemed an easy way to get rich quick. Founder Heidi “Kimmer” Diaz set up a website and charged members a fee to access the Kimkins diet, boasting they could lose up to 5 percent of their body weight in 10 days. “Better than gastric bypass,” there was “no faster diet,” and in fact she herself had lost 198# in 11 months. Stunning “after” photos were displayed. In June 2007 Women's World ran it as a cover story, and that month alone PayPal records show the Kimkins site took in over $1.2 million. Then users began complaining of chest pains, hair loss, heart palpitations, irritability and menstrual irregularities. This was not surprising since Kimkins is essentially a starvation diet, down to 500 calories per day and deficient in many nutrients (appallingly, laxatives are advised to replace the missing fiber). In a lawsuit, 11 former members are uncovering a vast record of Diez’s alleged fraud. They found that the stunning “after” photos, including one of Kimmer herself, had been lifted from a Russian mail order bride site. According to a deposition reported by Los Angeles TV station KTLA, Diaz admitted using fake pictures, fake stories and fake IDs, and a judge has allowed the litigants to freeze some of her assets.

“Today’s economic downturn can remind us how foolish it is to waste money on unsafe, ineffective and energy-draining weight loss efforts,” said Francie M. Berg, a licensed nutritionist and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, whose organization Healthy Weight Network started the Slim Chance Awards 20 years ago. The National Council Against Health Fraud, for which she is coordinator of the task force for Weight Loss Abuse, co-sponsors the awards.

They’re part of the lead-up to “Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day” during Healthy Weight Week, which falls from January 18 to 24 in 2009.

With the New Year upon us, resolutions freshly on our minds, Berg is advising people to skip dieting and move ahead with healthy habits that last a lifetime.

“Here’s a plan for the new year that’s free, freeing of your spirit and available to all,” she suggested.

- Record your dieting history (weight lost, weight regained, favorable and ill effects, time frame of each). Reflect on what you have written.

- Resolve to follow a healthy diet-free lifestyle through 2009, adapting guidelines that work for you. (Handouts available at www.healthyweight.net/handouts.htm).

It’s a way to get your life on track, improve your health and move on with what’s really important in your life, Berg explained. For more information contact Healthy Weight Network or visit www.healthyweightnetwork.com

###


CONTACT:
Francie M. Berg
fmberg@healthyweight.net
701-567-2646
Healthy Weight Network
402 South 14th Street
Hettinger, ND 58639
www.healthyweightnetwork.com

MEDIA: To arrange an interview with Francie Berg call 701-567-2646 or email fmberg@healthyweight.net  (please begin subject line with: Berg..)

- END –

 
 
 

 

 

ANNOUNCING

2014

25th Annual
SLIM CHANCE Awards!

The Worst Weight Loss products and promotions

See also
Quackery and Fraud

Healthy Body Image awards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Models pose at press conference launching the Quebec Charter. Photo by Dario Ayala, The Gazette, Canwest News Service, Vancouver Sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Softcover 496 pages

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EXCERPTS | REVIEWS
 

 

Softcover 352 pages

$19.95

EXCERPTS | REVIEWS

 
 

Softcover 384 pages

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EXCERPTS | REVIEWS

 
 

Copyright 2009-1994 by Frances M. Berg, Healthy Weight Network, Hettinger, North Dakota
All rights reserved. www.healthyweight.net

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