Remember that New Year's resolution you made to lose some weight and keep it off? Surveys tell us that only one month into the year, many consumers have already abandoned their resolve -- and still more will do the same before the winter is over.
Overweight and obesity are major public health issues. Research shows that about 54 percent of American adults are overweight or obese and an estimated 45 million Americans diet each year. The real skinny on weight loss? There are no magic bullets. Successful weight loss and weight maintenance depend on a personal commitment to changing your eating habits and increasing your level of physical exercise.
Today, I'm pleased to announce that the Partnership for Healthy Weight Management -- a group of 41 government agencies, industry groups and individuals - has cut through the clutter in an effort to help consumers achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
First, the Partnership for Healthy Weight Management has agreed that there is certain information consumers should have when they are considering a weight loss product or program. The Partnership is releasing voluntary guidelines about plain English disclosures that can help consumers tell the substance from the sizzle and make smart choices if they're choosing a weight loss product or service. Among the disclosures that consumers should look for are:
Second, the Partnership is releasing a television public service announcement prepared by Knoll Pharmaceutical Company that promotes the notion that, if maintained, even moderate weight loss - five to 10 percent - can have significant health benefits. The PSA urges consumers to send for a free brochure, Setting Goals for Weight Loss, that will help them compute their Body Mass Index (BMI), set realistic goals, and avoid weight loss scams.
When the FTC convened the first meeting of the Partnership in 1997, our purpose was to explore what information consumers need to evaluate weight loss products and services. Working together, the partners developed the voluntary guidelines for disclosures. I'd like to thank the Partners - including the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, representatives of academia and the weight loss product and services industry, consumer groups and individuals - for their efforts and their focus. On their behalf, I encourage others to join us by adopting these voluntary guidelines and working together to help consumers manage their weight successfully.
*This may not be an exact transcript of her remarks