Don't Get Duped : A Consumer's Guide to Health and Fitness

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9781573929226: Don't Get Duped : A Consumer's Guide to Health and Fitness
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In the health and fitness industry truth is a scarce commodity, charges Dr. Larry M. Forness. American consumers, exposed to a daily barrage of hype and misinformation about all the products and services that claim to make them healthier and more attractive, annually spend forty billion dollars needlessly on a cornucopia of vitamins, minerals, herbal supplements, ergogenic aids, fitness equipment, and alternative healthcare treatments. In this "survival manual," Forness's goal is to teach consumers the critical tools to make them more knowledgeable about these questionable items.
The topics covered include the real meaning of ôscientifically proven," methods for quantitatively analyzing such claims as "more energy" and "improved strength," alternative healthcare treatments vs. hard science, fad diets, aging remedies, abuse of the labels "certified" and "licensed," plus an extremely useful glossary explaining commonly used marketing terms. To reinforce his message, Forness has originated the "Bozo du Jour Award," bestowed on various individuals, groups, or companies that have created or participated in misleading advertising, or have done something that could harm consumers.
Before you begin yet another weight loss or fitness program or buy the next healthcare product, you owe it to yourself to read what Dr. Forness has to say.

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From the Publisher:

The information in this book could save you money--perhaps a lot of money. It could certainly save you considerable frustration, embarrassment, and disappointment. It could even save your life.

What is contained in these pages may anger and shock you. It might well make you laugh. It will entertain, educate, and strengthen you. It will definitely change the way you look at health and fitness ads.

You will be given specific examples of the incredibly powerful subtleties that prey on your mind and your pocketbook. You're going up against some real professionals when it comes to misinformation and deceptive claims. You'll read and see exactly how they do it to you.

I have a confession to make. I've been suckered for forty years by misleading claims and incorrect information by those who manufacture and promote vitamins, minerals, ergogenic supplements, herbs, fitness equipment, fitness apparel, and "alternative" health care. And I'm supposed to be an expert on these items!

It all started in 1959 when my parents bought me my first set of free weights for my sixteenth birthday. I was ready to try out for football and, at six feet, two inches tall and tipping the scales at 140 pounds, I needed to put on some weight before I got annihilated on the playing field.

The weights were purchased from a company run by a now-famous manufacturer of bodybuilding equipment. With the weights came a page that said that if you wanted "personal advice" on building up a certain part of your body to send two dollars in cash to another guy--a bodybuilder--with your question, and he'd respond.

I sent away the question with the two dollars. Got no answer. I did it again. Got no answer. Did it a third time. Got no answer.

Finally, I dialed Information, got the company's phone number, called them, and demanded my money back. The response I got on the phone was "Go to hell, kid," and the guy hung up on me! That planted the seed for this book. And I hope it truly is a case of "What goes around, comes around."

That six dollars wasn't a load of money, but the total amount of money wasted on the practices and products debunked in this book amount to many billions of dollars per year.

Collectively, the chapters in this book will give you fact, not fluff, so that you can stop wasting your hard-earned money on false claims. I will also show you what you need to know to truly be an informed consumer--someone who doesn't get duped!

Chapter 1 will illustrate in detail exactly how the health and fitness industry gets inside your head to separate you from your money. You'll see some of the many ways the industry advertises its products to draw you in.

Chapter 2 explains how something is "scientifically proven." There is only one legitimate way to prove the validity of a statement or claim made in the industry. Though the scientific method can be technical, I describe it in plain and simple terms.

Chapter 3 shows how you can actually measure the claims and the results. Claims such as "more energy," "increased fitness level," "improved strength," "shed pounds," and the like are either false or misleading. They are qualitative statements. You need and deserve the quantitative amounts -- that is, how much and how fast? I'll show you how to get this information.

Chapters 4 through 9 discuss the many items you can buy. I'll tell you specifically what these items really do, how much you need, how to compute your need, the risks involved with over-and under-consumption, and I present specific examples of ads to illustrate the absurdity of the claims made.

Chapter 10 is your security blanket. You may feel overwhelmed and insecure about where to go to get a straight answer. This chapter will point you in the right direction by offering helpful resources for additional information.

Chapter 11 uncovers how people use the words "licensed," "registered," and "certified." I'll explain what these terms mean and how a legitimate licensure or certification is acquired.

My discussion of weight-loss programs and products in chapter 12 is vital for all those who believe they need to shed a few or a great many pounds. More than forty million Americans are obese (i.e., they are more than 20% over their ideal weight for their sex and height.) You'll learn the only three guaranteed ways to lose weight permanently.

Chapter 13 brings the future to the present. With an aging population, this is the new battleground for consumer dollars. Aging "remedies" are exploding. If you're over age 35, you really need to know more about this growing phenomenon. I'll define aging, show you how to slow it down, reverse it, and measure the change--clinically, scientifically, and quantitatively.

Chapter 14 provides valuable "do" and "don't" checklists to insure that you will never be duped again. Your days of being played for a sucker are over!

Do read the glossary. It is a valuable source of information all its own. You might be surprised or even shocked to learn that the phrase "all natural" has no definition. It's a phrase created by manufacturers to attract consumers, but it has no accepted medical or scientific basis. A lot of terms contained in the gloaasry were simply invented by marketers to separate you from your money.

I call your attention to features occurring throughout the book. First, you will see boxes followed by the name I have given to a principle and then some explanatory text. The names of the principles, while somewhat tongue-in-cheek, are nonetheless meant to be descriptive labels given to the various methods used to dupe you. These principles are inserted so that you may check them as you read. You check them whenever you come upon a situation or phrase that has led to your being duped. Don't be embarrassed. I checked most of them. I've been duped scores of times. The point is to know that you have been so you can gain the knowledge to prevent future incidents.

The second item is a brief but very important summary at the end of each chapter. The summary is called "VIPs". It stands for "Very Important Points" and contains the information I hope you will remember from each chapter. It is meant to be an easy reference tool and to reinforce your learning.

You should know that I have never endorsed--for compensation or for free--any health or fitness product. I never will. I believe that you are smart enough to make the right choices if, and only if, you know the truth about the health and fitness industry and how it tries to manipulate you. You don't need me to make recommendations for you. You need this book to learn more about those who want to sell you their products. The truth is the industry's most terrifying nightmare.

You'll see copies of actual ads and Internet addresses. If you find the ad is no longer on the Internet, what might be the reason if the product is supposedly so great?

The objectives of this book are twofold: First, to show you the ways you're being duped--with specific examples and all the subtleties; second, to increase your knowledge so you become self-sufficient and therefore totally competent and able to put misleading and deceptive ads where they belong--in your mental or physical trash bin. I am fully aware you will most likely not have this book with you as you sit at your TV, computer monitor, or with a magazine. Once you learn how and why you're being duped, you most likely will not need it by your side. Knowing a phony ad when you see one reinforces your learning.

Soon, no ad should trick you. So, dear reader, cast aside your ignorance and grow in knowledge and truth. I wish you all good health and good fortune. -- Dr. Larry M. Forness

About the Author:

Dr. Larry M. Forness is the founder of the National Center for Sports Medicine and is currently Adjunct Professor of Public Health at American Military University.

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