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New Data Reveal Ethnicity May Play Role in Weight Loss Decisions
Date:10/22/2007

NEW ORLEANS and PITTSBURGH, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A new analysis of a landmark weight loss survey suggests that Hispanics and African Americans are more likely than whites to use unproven dietary supplements for weight loss. The data, presented today at the 2007 Annual Scientific Meeting of NAASO, The Obesity Society, adds to the growing body of research that more awareness about recommended weight loss treatments and the associated health risks of overweight and obesity is needed among these populations.

The new data shows that Hispanics and African Americans are less likely to use commercial weight loss programs -- defined as organized programs where clients attend regular meetings either in person or online -- and more likely to exercise and use dietary supplements for weight loss, such as herbs or plant extracts, as compared to whites. This finding is important because in contrast with prescription and OTC medications, dietary supplements generally do not require FDA evaluation and approval for safety or efficacy before they are marketed. Most people are unaware that most OTC products currently marketed for weight loss are not subject to the same regulations as FDA- approved drugs.

"The rates of obesity among African Americans and Hispanic groups in the U.S. tend to be higher than obesity rates among whites," said Adam Gilden Tsai, M.D., Medical Director, Center for Weight and Eating Disorders, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "There are a variety of diseases associated with being obese or overweight and it is important that individuals use evidence-based treatments for weight loss."

The new subgroup analysis was based on a landmark telephone survey of 3,500 U.S. adults conducted in 2005-2006. The results suggest that while concern about weight was similar across all groups, whites were more likely than African Americans (p=0.0056) or Hispanics (p=0.0014) to have used a commercial program and less likely
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SOURCE GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare
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