U.K. minister urges magazines to lay off the post-holidays weight loss stories

Jordana Divon
Contributing Writer
Shine On

In approximately six days, the weight loss barrage will begin.

The post-January 1st media landscape inevitably looks like one screeching, giant-neon-lettered admonition to melt off those holiday pounds with a miracle diet. With it comes whatever new fad will help you transform those love handles into a lean, mean, love machine.

But one U.K. government minister is tired of the false and damaging hype. Jo Swinson, equalities minister and co-founder of the Campaign for Body Confidence, has penned an open letter to magazines urging them to lay off the weight loss stories, BBC News reports.

"I am sure that you want to promote a healthy lifestyle for your readers but at this time of year in particular far too much of magazine coverage tends to focus on irresponsible, short-term solutions and encourages readers to jump on fad diet bandwagons,” she writes.

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"As editors you owe more to your readers than the reckless promotion of unhealthy solutions to losing weight.”

Instead, she continues, editors need to be consistent in their messaging that healthy eating and physical activity over time is the safest and most effective way to promote and maintain weight loss.

"Any of these kind of fad diets actually can have negative health consequences, and most diets don't even work anyway," she tells BBC.

Though her words aren’t likely to change any pre-determined stories, Swinson’s letter has been met with acclaim by men and women who are sick of the weight loss bombardment.

“I congratulate her opinion. People can make their own decisions but also some are not aware of the psychological implications that constant media coverage of fad diets can do to otherwise sensible people,” writes one commenter on the BBC site.

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Others have taken a more critical tone to her actions, accusing Swinson of political grandstanding and suggesting that people are smart enough to make their own decisions without any coddling by the “nanny state.”

“Rather than blaming issues on Magazines, TV, Films, Music and Video Games perhaps we should focus on educating people on good diets or on being media savvy,” another commenter opines.

It only takes one quick peek around mainstream sites to see that Swinson’s concerns are well represented.

A top headline on the Daily Mail’s Femail section screams: “Want to shift those post-holiday pounds? Chill out! Soaring demand for treatment that FREEZES off your festive fat.”

And chances are it will inspire just as many clicks than stories like this one about the details of Swinson’s good intentions.