Protect Yourself Against Health Fraud
by Jenni J., http://www.fitnessandfreebies.com
Americans spend billions of dollars
each year on products or services that claim everything from "losing
weight while you sleep" to "no more arthritic pain." Easy
remedies are hard to resist, but many don't always deliver on their
promises. Some can be harmful.
Health fraud means promoting, for financial gain, a health remedy that
doesn't work -- or hasn't yet been proven to work. Health fraud has grown
significantly in the past several decades. Why such growth? People today
take more personal responsibility for staying healthy. That interest has
launched a huge demand for products and services that promote health.
What are the consequences? Health fraud takes advantage of consumers and
carries significant economic and health risks including:
Unsound nutrition advice, products or services won't prevent or cure
disease. For the best advice, contact your physician and a dietetics
professional such as a registered dietitian.
A SUBSTITUTE FOR RELIABLE HEALTH CARE.
Proper health care can be delayed if you follow bad advice. You may lose
something you can't retrieve -- time for effective treatment.
Even under the best of circumstances, some products and services simply
don't work. Why waste your hard-earned money on something that has no
Unsound nutrition advice, products or services can put your health at
risk. Large doses of some vitamins and minerals, in the form of dietary
supplements, can have harmful side effects. For example, excessive vitamin
K is risky if you take blood-thinning drugs. And excessive amounts of
vitamin A during pregnancy increase the chances of birth defects.
What can you do? Below are some tips that can help you in identifying
health fraud and where you can go for sound nutrition information.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
Find out more before you purchase a nutrition product, treatment or
SEEK ADVICE FROM RELIABLE SOURCES.
It's not easy to distinguish nutrition facts from misinformation. Contact
a credible nutrition source such as a dietetics professional.
REPORT NUTRITION FRAUD.
If you suspect that a statement, product or service is false, discuss it
with the appropriate government agency or file a complaint.
The Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration have
produced a brochure, "Miracle Health Claims: Add a Dose of
Skepticism," to help consumers understand the consequences of and
learn how to identify health fraud.
For a copy of the brochure, call 877/382-4357 or write to:
Consumer Response Center
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Room H 130
Washington, D.C. 20580-0001
To your health!