Miracle weight loss solutions? … Nope, just deceptive ads!
Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned companies advertising the Lap-Band, a surgical weight loss device, that their ads are misleading and must be stopped and corrected. The Network is glad the FDA stepped up and took action against the Lap-Band’s deceptive marketing campaigns, but it is not enough – this dangerous device is still being marketed to tens of millions of women!
The ads targeted by the FDA for this warning feature slender, happy women and men claiming they lost massive amounts of weight and have their lives back all thanks to the Lap-Band. The problem with these ads, noted the FDA, is that they glamorize the Lap-Band without communicating the serious risks associated with the device, which gives women an incomplete and inaccurate picture of life with a Lap-Band.
The Network warned the FDA that this would happen when the agency expanded use of the Lap-Band to millions more people earlier this year. We predicted that the Lap-Band would be heavily promoted with ads that make people think they can improve their health by having surgery to implant this device, even though the device has no proven health benefit beyond weight loss.
Research shows that the Lap Band offers no improvements in the chronic health conditions associated with excess weight, but clinicians and consumers are often influenced by marketing and believe that it will improve type II diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Despite the lack of data to support this claim, gastric banding is touted on billboards and television as “the surgery that could save your life” – another claim that goes significantly beyond weight loss.
For more about research on the safety and effectiveness of gastric banding surgery and the NWHN’s advocacy for more rigorous regulation of these devices, read the NWHN’s alert “Poor long-term outcomes for the Lap-Band -- New research supports NWHN concern.”