UK & World News
Fad Magazine Diets Attacked By MP
After an indulgent Christmas, many people will be hoping to lose a few pounds in the New Year.
But a government minister has urged magazine editors to scrap "irresponsible" fad diets that prey on body hang-ups.
Lib Dem Jo Swinson has written an open letter to national titles urging them to stop the "reckless promotion" of miracle weight loss cures.
She wrote: "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.
"As editors you owe more to your readers than the reckless promotion of unhealthy solutions to losing weight.
"If your aim is to give practical, sensible advice about losing weight - and not how to drop a stone in five days - you should encourage reasonable expectations, instead of dangerous ones, along with exercise and healthy eating."
The open letter was sent to women's, men's health, celebrity and gossip magazines.
It ends with a suggested New Year's resolution to "celebrate the beauty of diversity in body shape, skin colour, size and age".
Ms Swinson, who co-founded the Campaign for Body Confidence, has also spoken out against airbrushing in the past.
The campaign believes the "pressure to conform to impossible stereotypes" is damaging to both men and women and increases low-self-esteem, depression and eating disorders.
Weight Watchers, which was recently named the NHS's most effective weight loss provider, welcomed the letter.
A spokeswoman said: "We're delighted that the government is taking measures to prevent the promotion of irresponsible and unhealthy fad diets.
"Weight Watchers is not a diet, it's a healthy lifestyle."
She said they encourage a "healthy and sustainable weight loss" of no more than 2lbs a week.
But critics pointed out that Jo Swinson's letter may be too late for the January magazines - which have already been written.
The former editor of NME music magazine Conor McNicholas tweeted: "Dear Jo Swinson, Want to start telling mag eds what to do? You might want learn bit more about their monthly lead times."