The Government has appealed to magazines not to promote "miracle diets" once the festive season has ended.
Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat Equalities minister, has warned that the health of young women and men could be put at risk if they are encouraged to go on "fad diets" in the new year.
In an open letter to editors of women's, men's, health, celebrity and gossip magazines, Ms Swinson said: "This time of year in particular far too much magazine coverage tends to focus on irresponsible, short-term solutions and encourages readers to jump on fad diet bandwagons. As editors you owe more to your readers than the reckless promotion of unhealthy solutions to losing weight."
The minister added: "If your aim is to give practical, sensible advice about losing weight – and not how to drop a stone in five days – you should encourage reasonable expectations, instead of dangerous ones, along with exercise and healthy eating."
Ms Swinson said yesterday: "Surely by now we're all aware that there are no miracle diets, or if there are they come with a cost. Given that most diets fail within a very short time, it is irresponsible for magazines to offer 'tips', 'tricks' and 'simple steps' on becoming thin. Not healthy or vibrant, just thin."
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