Dundee City East MSP, Shona Robison and Glasgow Central MP, Alison Thewliss are calling for social media influencers and celebrities to act responsibly and stop promoting products which claim to help speedy weight loss.

Both parliamentarians have lodged Motions backing local campaigner and founder of The Empowered Women Project, Mandy Jones, who set-up a petition on Change.org titled; “LET'S STOP influencers and celebrities working with products promoting speedy weight loss”.

Ms Robison, who recently met with Mandy, was delighted the petition was close to reaching the target number of signatures;

“The Empowered Woman Project seeks to highlight a wide range of issues women throughout the UK may deal with on their own. I was delighted to meet with Mandy recently to discuss the dangers of advertising products encouraging rapid weight loss.

“It is deeply concerning a number of social media influencers and celebrities can be paid by companies to promote an inaccurate portrayal of healthy weight loss, often with before and after photos and supposedly after having taken the product on the same day.

“The portrayal of unrealistic body expectations, which are often perpetuated by and shared widely across social media can have potential significant damaging effects on the physical and mental wellbeing of young people and adults.

“I am encouraged by recent comments from Prof Stephen Powis, NHS England’s medical director, who accused highly influential celebrities of letting down the people who look up to them by promoting ineffective, or at worst, harmful products.

“Influential celebrities need to act responsibly and Mandy is an inspiration to girls and women in Dundee and throughout the Country for highlighting the negative impact false advertising can have.”

Founder of The Empowered Women Project, Mandy Jones, said;

“As someone who has battled eating disorders on and off over the years, I can't even imagine what it's like to be a young woman in today's society, and to be constantly exposed to "beauty ideals" on social media, some of which are totally false.

“Many of the "before and after" images we see via ads and paid promotions s to promote speedy weight loss products are either taken moments apart or the after image has been heavily edited.

“We must ensure these types of ads are regulated because the effect it's having on young women in particular is so widespread and devastating.”

Alison Thewliss MP added:

“I welcome greatly the brave move by the Empowered Women Project to highlight the dangers of advertising and marketing techniques that seek to encourage women to take part in unsafe lifestyle practices.

“The way many of these messages are conveyed is entirely wrong, and undoubtedly sets a dangerous precedent. Indeed, the individuals advertising many of these techniques and products will often post ‘before and after’ photographs that are clearly simulated, which in turn can lead to the creation of unrealistic body standards for women and girls.

“I have written to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to raise my concerns formally. Whilst it is encouraging that some areas of regulation with regards advertising have kept pace with technology, the undue influence of paid advertisers on social media, and the content of some posts remain areas worthy of further scrutiny”. ENDS

Contact – Nadia el-Nakla or Donald Morrison – 01382 903219

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