The commercial weight-loss industry is big business in North America, and the $50 billion industry should be regulated to safeguard people's health, write Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, Dr. Arya Sharma and the CMAJ editorial team cmaj/press/pg367.pdf. Despite expert agreement that obesity management requires long-term behavioural, medical or surgical interventions, many commercial weight-loss programs create impossible expectations and false beliefs.

"Physicians, governments and public health departments all share medical and moral obligations to protect consumers from shady weight-loss practices," write the authors. "Since weight-loss addresses a medical concern for which treatment guidelines exist, weight-loss products and services must be regulated to protect consumer health."

"Before we can truly address the devastating obesity epidemic, we must first stem the centuries-old flow of snake oil," they state, calling on governments to require accreditation of weight-loss providers and for these providers to supply evidence-based information for their claims.

About CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

CMAJ is the leading health sciences journal in Canada. CMAJ is a general medical journal publishing original research and review articles, commentaries and editorials, practice updates, an arts and ideas section and health news. Published continuously since 1911, new issues are uploaded on cmaj every second Monday at 4:30 p.m. EST/EDT. cmaj contains the complete editorial contents of CMAJ, supplemented by a variety of interactive features and additional content.

CMAJ is an open- and free-access journal - there are no author or page charges and access is provided free on the web (HighWire Press), cmaj without registration. cmaj has about 1 million requests and 250,000 page views per month. The Journal is part of the PubMed Central collection of journals pubmedcentral.nih at the National Library of Medicine thus providing a guarantee of permanent archiving and open access. PubMed Central is now processing back issues of CMAJ to 1911.

CMAJ's impact factor - a measure of the scientific importance of articles published - has more than tripled since 1997 and is now 7.1.

The Journal receives about 2000 manuscripts a year (including letters to the editor and news articles). CMAJ's acceptance rate for unsolicited research and review articles is about 12%.


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