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FTC fights bogus bulge battlers

The Federal Trade Commission Tuesday released a study of weight-loss ads
that concludes that "false or misleading claims" are widespread "and appear to
have increased over the past decade."

In a preface to the study, the Surgeon General urged broadcasters, among
others, to "adopt reasonable screening measures to assure that the weight-loss
ads they carry are based on science and not on wishful thinking."

The study is a staff report and does not necessarily represent the views of
the commission, although Surgeon General Richard Carmona clearly sees it as the
media's and advertisers' responsibility to be more vigilant against false and
deceptive weight-loss ads.

The FTC also announced that it will hold a weight-loss advertising workshop Nov.
19 in Washington, D.C., to discuss the impact of such ads on public health and
strategies for combating false advertising.

The full report is available at