Tag Archives: legal

Should Parents of Obese Children Lose Custody?

In an opinion piece that ran last week in the Journal of American Medicine, Harvard University child obesity expert Dr. David Ludwig set a fire when he called for parents to lose custody of their obese children.

“In severe instances of childhood obesity, removal from the home may be justifiable, from a legal standpoint, because of imminent health risks and the parents’ chronic failure to address medical problems,” Ludwig said. Ludwig goes as far as to compare obesity to extreme child abuse. The thought is not without precedent: More than 10 years ago, 3-year-old Anamarie Regino was taken from her parents and placed in foster care simply because she weighed 90 pounds. When questioned about this case, Ludwig admitted that “state intervention is no guarantee of a good outcome, but to do nothing is also not an answer.”

Ludwig has received heat for this point of view, and he’s since clarified his position. He said in later publication that in 99% of the most severe cases, he would not recommend that an obese child be removed from the home. He further explained that state intervention could include financial support to families, social services, access to safe recreation areas and even parenting courses to help manage a child’s uncontrolled eating habits. “The ultimate answer to the obesity epidemic is not to blame parents, it’s to create a more healthful and supportive society,” Ludwig said.

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Conservatives and Liberals Make Different Food Choices

There are many ways that we identify ourselves, and one of our deepest set chosen identities tends to be political beliefs. Self-identified liberals and conservatives (rather than those that identify as “middle of the road”) tend to disagree strongly on a variety of subjects, from the size of government to taxation to gay marriage. A survey of 347, 949 Hunch.com users has identified that those who tend to support liberal or conservative politicians also disagree on what to eat.

Those who identified as liberal seem to be more likely to agree with what they read at DietsInReview. While conservatives were 65 percent more likely to eat fast food a few times per week, liberals were 92 percent more likely to eat fast food rarely or never. When it comes to french fries, conservatives consider McDonald’s the best of the best, while liberals are 64 percent more likely to prefer bistro-type fries.

Similar to their fast food choices, those who identify as conservative were 50 percent more likely to believe there is no significant difference between organic and processed food, while identifying yourself as a liberal makes you 28 percent more likely to disagree. Liberals are 29 percent more likely than conservatives to avoid soda and 27 percent as likely to drink only diet soda when they do. Those who identify as liberal are 28 percent more likely to eat fresh fruit daily, while those who identify as conservative are 35 percent more likely to eat fresh fruit less than once per week.

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Former Biggest Loser Contestant Wins Lawsuit Against Diet Companies

Jen Eisenbarth claims diet companies used her image without her permission

On the TV show The Biggest Loser, contestants work hard to lose weight through diet and lots of exercise, without the use of additional products except for those endorsed by the show.

Season three contestant Jennifer Eisenbarth was eliminated early in the season, but she went home and worked hard to lose over 100 pounds on her own. Now, Eisenbarth has not only been successful in weight loss, she has just won a legal battle with several weight loss companies.

Eisenbarth filed a lawsuit against many diet and weight loss companies for promoting several products, including diet supplements and cleansers, using her name and image without her permission. Although her legal fight has been going on since 2009, the companies named in the lawsuit, including  FWM Laboratories, Bromacleanse, Coast Nutraceuticals, Herbalife International, Congoo and HD Vest Advanced Systems, have settled and agreed to a permanent injunction.

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Mom Sues Nutella Over Nutrition Claims

It sounds like a no-brainer: A chocolate spread can’t possibly be healthy, can it? Yet, a California woman claims to have been deceived by the commercials for Nutella, the European chocolate hazelnut spread.

Athena Hohenberg says that she was “shocked to learn that Nutella was in fact, not ‘healthy, nutritious’ food, but instead was the next best thing to a candy bar.” She also claims that she had no idea that Nutella contains dangerous level of saturated fat – more than half of the 200 calories per 2 Tablespoon serving comes from fat.

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Controversial Kimkins Diet Founder Starts New Diet Site

On the heels of a guilty verdict against the controversial Kimkins Diet founder Heidi Diaz, it’s come to our attention that being investigated for fraud apparently doesn’t get in the way of one’s entrepreneurial spirit.

It appears that the website www.mealperfect.com has been registered by a “Heidi Diaz” and that the site is being hosted on the kimkins.com server. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes or Bob Woodward to surmise that, hey, Ms. Diaz is not shying away from what got her in trouble.

What exactly is mealperfect.com? According to Who.is, the website was created in December, 2009. So, in “Internet years,” it’s still a baby- and it shows. Content is fairly thin, particularly in the Success Stories department, where there are a grand total of zero examples of success. This is of particular interest to those of us who have watched the Kimkins drama unfold, since that website was found guilty of falsifying diet success stories. (more…)

Kimkins Diet Founder Guilty of Fraud, False Advertising

After several years of battling in court, a judge has rendered a decision in the class action lawsuit against the controversial Kimkins Diet. On Friday, Judge Rick Brown of the Riverside County Superior Court entered a verdict for the plaintiffs in the certified national class action lawsuit. She was found guilty of fraud and false advertising.

The court awarded the class members restitution in the sum of $1,824,210.39. The court also awarded an additional $500,000 in punitive damages and attorney fees, and issued a temporary restraining order to freeze all of Ms. Diaz’s assets. (more…)

Ben & Jerry’s to Drop All Natural From Labels

The Washington-based Center for Science in the Public Interest has requested that the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Company drop the words “all-natural” from their labels. Ben & Jerry’s agreed to the label change on Monday, declaring that they would no longer battle over the definition of “all natural“. Ben & Jerry’s spokesman Sean Greenwood said that the change would happen gradually and hopes that it will help consumers make a more informed decision.

Ben & Jerry’s is not changing the recipes that make their best selling ice cream, which sometimes contain corn syrup, hydrogenated oils or other substances that are not natural. The CPSI has stated that the company should not use the term “all natural” unless it is truly all natural, with only naturally occurring ingredients. Ben & Jerry’s has agreed, and will no longer label their ice cream as such. (more…)

POM Wonderful Sued Over False Health Claims

POM Wonderful

UPDATE [9/28/10]: In response to the FTC’s charges, POM as issued a statement that they feel the allegations are “unwarranted” and that the health benefits of pomegranate juice are “backed by $25 million in medical research.” The juice producer goes even further by stating that the FTC “is wasting taxpayer resources to persecute the pomegranate.”

Yet another popular drink manufacturer must face government regulators over exaggerated health claims. While the Food and Drug Administration has called out several food and beverage producers, this time the Federal Trade Commission is stepping onto the field. The FTC is suing POM Wonderful LLC of Los Angeles over their claims about the wonders of pomegranate juice.

The commission is targeting POM Wonderful 100% Juice and POMx dietary supplements. They say that ads for these items make “false and unsubstantiated claims that their products will prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.”

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Jillian Michaels Sued because of Diet Pill Claims

jillian michaels maximum strength calorie controlA class action lawsuit was filed last week in L.A. against Biggest Loser and weight loss guru Jillian Michaels. Named in the suit, Christie Christensen makes claims that she “was duped” into buying one of the supplements Michaels has recently lent her name to, Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control. Christensen’s suit is based on the claim that she was lead to believe the diet supplement’s advertised benefits would reduce her appetite or help her lose weight, which she says it did not.

“Ms. Michaels knows better — taking two pills before eating does not miraculously cause weight loss,” the lawsuit states, per The Associated Press.

Melissa Harnett, Christensen’s attorney who filed the suit, told TMZ, “Telling people you take two magic pills and then eat chocolate cake all day is a deception.”

As part of the suit, Christensen is suing Basic Research and ThinCare International, the Utah-based manufacturer of the multiple diet supplement products bearing Michaels’ name. (more…)

Weight Watchers Sues Jenny Craig

weight watchers jenny craig lawsuitCompanies who sell weight loss products sometimes play fast and loose with the facts, particularly when they site studies and claims about the effectiveness of their product. And, that’s exactly what Weight Watchers is saying Jenny Craig did in a a recent television commercial.

In a recent TV ad, Jenny Craig claims that their clients “on average lost over twice as much weight as those on the largest weight loss program.” Code for Weight Watchers.

The problem is, Weight Watchers says that no study exists to back Jenny Craig’s claims, and decided to take legal action. They won round one of the dispute. This week, a U.S. District Court in New York granted the company’s wishes and ordered a temporary restraining order on Jenny Craig, which prohibits them from publishing or broadcasting claims that they are superior to Weight Watchers. (more…)