CAP and BCAP are consulting on proposals to allow providers of certain lifestyle weight loss programmes to refer to obesity in their advertising and therefore target obese people. 

Although all weight loss programmes may currently advertise their services, currently references to obesity in advertisements, for example in text or spoken word, or through the depiction of obese people can only be made for weight loss programmes where participants are placed under the direct supervision of a healthcare professional. This prevents lifestyle weight loss programmes not under the supervision of a healthcare professional from referring to obesity in their advertisements, including showing obese people. Given the recognition in public health policy of the value of weight loss programmes in tackling obesity, CAP and BCAP are examining whether this position is now too restrictive. 

In November 2015 CAP and BCAP updated the rules in their Codes to allow advertisers of lifestyle weight loss programmes which meet particular criteria to make reference to obesity in their advertising, and therefore target people who are obese.  CAP and BCAP consider that the recognition that some lifestyle weight loss programmes now enjoy as a safe and effective means of losing weight, combined with the seriousness and prevalence of obesity in the UK, warrants a conditional de-regulation to allow some marketers to target people who are obese when they could not previously have done so.

Supporting documents:
  CAP and BCAP consultation on references to obesity.pdf  
  Obesity consultation individual responses.pdf  
  References to obesity evaluation of responses.pdf

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