Deception in weight-loss advertising: Newspaper use of press releases issued by the Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates advertising associated with dietary supplements, acting for consumers in cases of deception. This study examines the extent to which regional and national newspapers responded to 177 FTC press releases about deceptive claims associated with weight-loss supplements. Of 177 FTC press releases, 77 (43.5%) received at least some coverage in 212 newspaper reports; however, a relatively small number of releases accounted for the preponderance of coverage. Marked increases in news reports at certain points reflected FTC press releases involving multiple companies, new initiatives and the “superfood” acai berry.