“Married women are fat!” says weight loss firm targeting married women

February 14th, 2012

Another day, another weight loss firm telling women that ‘research’ says they’re fat… in order to peddle them a dubious diet as the solution. Take this one in the Daily Mail:

The fat wives brigade: Women pile on the pounds when in a relationship (gaining 16lb in the first six months)

New couple often vow to stick together through thick and thin. But men embarking on a new relationship may not realise just how literally their partner might take the thick part. 

A staggering 90 percent of women gain weight when they settle down with a long term partner, a study revealed today. 

The average woman puts on a belt-busting 16lbs, with the majority (56 per cent) starting to gain weight just four to six months in to the relationship.

Perhaps these figures are real. But what we do know is that the company pushing these figures and conducting the research have a clear interest in making people (and, given the market, particularly women) a reason to feel like they need a weight loss product:

Of the 1,000 women polled by weight management company LighterLife, over a third blamed an increase in cosy nights in for their weight gain.

How do we know this is a press release? Well, it’s not easy, but interestingly from searching for the quote picked out by the company representative, you can see that three hours before the Daily Mail published their article, the exact same story appears on an independent blog:

I might be wrong, and it may well be that the timing isn’t accurate, and the blog copied the Mail… but if that’s the case, it’s odd that the blog not only includes much of the same wording as the Mail’s article, but it also includes a whole section about a webchat too, which is missing from the Mail’s.

Further, the sections quoted by the blogger clearly come with the title of the press release: 

Love is in the air, and in the belly…

My guess would be that the blogger above was sent the press release, along with Deborah Arthurs at the Daily Mail – both of whom published it, the latter of the two very slightly re-wording the sections that weren’t direct quotes and publishing it as news.

So, weight loss company tells women they’re fat – and the newspapers present this as if it’s a genuine discovery, and not a thinly-veiled play on the insecurities of the target audience.