Have you ever wondered who actually buys anything advertised via spam emails?
It turns out that when it comes to weight loss spam, the answer is simple — young adults.
New research has found that 41 percent of college students with weight problems opened and read spam e-mail advertising weight loss products.
Even more surprising, 18.5 percent went on to purchase one of the weight loss products advertised in the email.
“It appears that many young adults are turning to spam e-mail as a way to address their weight problem concerns,” Joshua Fogel, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of the Business Program at the Department of Economics at Brooklyn College said.
The researchers found that those with weight problems were three times more likely to open/read and also three times more likely to purchase weight loss products from this spam e-mail, compared to those without weight problem. The study also found that increased psychological stress was associated with an increase in purchases of these weight loss products advertised in spam e-mail.
The researchers analyzed data from a survey of 200 college students, who were asked if they had weight problems and if in the past year they received, opened/read, or purchased products from spam e-mail about weight loss topics. Psychological stress was measured by the Perceived Stress Scale.
“This is of concern as there is no quality control for what is advertised in spam e-mail,” Dr. Fogel noted.
“These products can range from harmless to potentially dangerous. Some spam e-mail products even advertise and sell prescription medications without requiring proof of a valid prescription.”
The study recommends to those who counsel and treat those with weight problems that they should discuss with their patients the potential risks of opening/reading and purchasing weight loss products advertised in spam e-mail. It is well worth the brief time spent on this topic which can help prevent a young adult from having a potentially toxic side effect from using these weight loss products advertised in spam e-mail.
The study is published in the January issue of the Southern Medical Journal.
Source: Brooklyn College