The beginning of a new year is a time of resolution to improve physical and mental health. Often, the objective includes a new dedication to lose weight.
Unfortunately, adults are bombarded with weight-loss claims and promises. For millions of well-intentioned dieters, the chaos can result in confusion, frustration and, ultimately, disappointment.
According to a new survey of 2,058 adults, conducted in late November by Harris Interactive® on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, 52 percent of Americans say they plan to make a serious attempt to lose weight in 2008.
When it comes to weight-loss products, U.S. adults who plan to make a serious attempt to lose weight in 2008 have considerable knowledge gaps, particularly with regard to appetite suppressants, herbal products and dietary supplements.
These products are not required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to submit safety or efficacy studies, or to include warnings about potential side effects on their labels; however, the Harris Interactive survey shows:
Three in five (58 percent) think these products are at least somewhat effective.
* Two in five (44 percent) mistakenly assume the government requires warnings about potential side effects on the labels of these products.
In fact, the survey found that about 18 million adults who want to lose weight this year will rely on products that have not been reviewed and approved by the FDA before being sold to the public.
Nutrition Business Journal, a trade publication, reports that Americans spent an estimated $1.6 billion on weight-loss supplements in 2005. Given this level of investment, there should be no confusion over what they are getting for their money, says Rebecca Reeves, DrPH, RD, a GSK consultant who is past president of the American Dietetic Association and managing director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine.
“Weight-loss supplements claim to deliver extraordinary results with less effort than more traditional behavioral changes, such as diet and exercise,” says Reeves.
“However, there is scarce scientific data available to validate these product claims, which is unfortunate for the 66 percent or so of American adults who are overweight and obese.”
To help overweight adults distinguish fact from fiction at this pivotal time of year, alli® is providing free access to thousands of hours worth of weight-loss advice from healthcare professionals.
As the Harris Interactive survey shows, dieters value such support, but rarely take advantage of it: three quarters (73 percent) of U.S. adults who plan to make a serious attempt to lose weight in 2008 believe that outside help from a dietitian, pharmacist or other healthcare professional would help them achieve their weight-loss goals, but only a fraction (17 percent) of these adults plan to seek such support.
From January 4 – 7, 2008, alli will sponsor “Make This Year Different,” a weight-loss event designed to ease some of the barriers to seeking expert advice on weight-loss issues and to help overweight adults benefit from the counsel of healthcare professionals.
This guidance may help to make this year different for anyone who has tried ineffective weight-loss strategies in the past, or who is simply confused by the influx of weight-loss claims at this time of year.
People 18+ can call 866-551-DIFFERENT between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST to speak live with a dietitian or pharmacist, or to hear pre-recorded diet, nutrition, behavioral and exercise tips. The recorded information is also available before and after help-line hours, and will remain accessible through January 31, 2008.
Individuals can also visit http://www.MakeThisYearDifferent.com between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST for live online chats with dietitians or pharmacists, in private or group chat room discussions. The Web site will also feature diet and exercise videos and answers to common questions about the alli weight-loss program.
Source: GSK Consumer Healthcare