Inproceedings: An article in a conference proceedings.
Poster: Summary – with images – on one page of the results of a researche project. The summaries of the poster must be entered in "Abstract" and not "Poster".
The fallacy of slimming products: a case analysis in Switzerland
Title of the conference
12. Dreiländertagung der AKE, der DGEM und der GESKES : Jahrestagung des SVDE
Zürich, Schweiz, 6-8 Juni, 2013
Introduction: Many people desire to lose weight. This favors the marketing of "miracle" products with overemphasized slimming capacities. To our knowledge, no study regarding the claimed performances of slimming products has ever been conducted in Switzerland. Objectives: To assess weight loss claims of slimming products available in Switzerland by analyzing their corresponding advertisements. Methods: Between May 2008 and February 2013, 31 advertisements for 13 different slimming products from a single producer were collected. Weight loss claims and text of the advertisement were analyzed. Results: Weight loss claims ranged between 7 and 31 kg, with an estimated daily weight loss ranging between 300 g and 1 kg. 84% of the advertisements targeted women (by including the photograph of a woman), 61% showed a picture of a person before and after using the product, and 51% claimed that the product had improved marital relationships. The terms "natural", "miracle/extraordinary" and "scientific" were present in 92%, 77%, and 31% of the products, respectively. Free gifts were provided to buyers for 69% of the products. Cost was very similar for all 13 products (range: 49 to 59 CHF, with 8 products costing the same amount) and no correlation was found between cost of the product and weight loss claims. No differences were found for weight loss claims according to presence or absence of a picture or of the terms ".natural", ".miracle/extraordinary" and ".scientific" Finally, the yearly costs for advertising such products (French-speaking Switzerland) ranged between 56,000 and 126,000 CHF, suggesting that the gains obtained were higher than this value. Conclusion: In Switzerland, advertisements for slimming products use positive and reassuring terms to attract consumers, which are lured by unreachable, false promises of rapid and easy weight loss. Taking into account the costs of advertising, the gains obtained appear to be significant. Legislation on advertising of such products is urgently needed.
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