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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis

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Deceptive advertising of diet products subject of March seminar

02 Mar 2009

An American researcher with extensive experience in the economics of obesity will be the speaker at the March CHEPA seminar.

John Cawley, an associate professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University in New York, will give the seminar on March 11 entitled The effect of deceptive advertising on consumption: The case of over-the-counter weight loss products.

Cawley will share the results of a research project that measured consumers’ exposure to advertising for weight-loss products in magazines and on television, and examined how the ads affected their use of the products. The deceptiveness in the advertising was measured according to explicit Federal Trade Commission guidelines in the U.S. developed specifically for ads for weight-loss products.

Cawley, who is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research in the programs on health economics and health care, has served on advisory boards and expert panels relating to obesity for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

His research focuses on various aspects of the economics of obesity, with recent initiatives examining the impact of food advertising on the consumption of specific branded food items by children and youth. He is also evaluating school-based interventions to prevent youth obesity and the impact of financial rewards for weight loss.

Cawley has also studied the effect of body weight on labour market outcomes such as wage rates, unemployment, employment disability and the transition from welfare to work. Other research has looked at treatments for obesity, such as anti-obesity drugs and bariatric surgery, and the effectiveness of methods to prevent obesity.

The seminar will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 in HSC-1J8. All are welcome to attend.

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