Vote for the Commercial with the Worst Health Message
A few months ago, PCRM asked visitors to its Web site to vote for the commercial with the worst men’s health message. This time, PCRM is asking you to vote for the worst ad for a different product category: pharmaceuticals and supplements.
The contestants in this month’s online poll are commercials for FiberChoice, Lipitor, and Zetia. The FiberChoice ad suggests that, unless you’re eating broccoli, apples, and bran muffins all day, it is nearly impossible to get enough fiber. The average American eats only 14 to 15 grams of fiber a day. But a healthy vegetarian diet provides significantly more fiber—30 grams or more a day. The Lipitor commercial implies that a person who eats a healthy diet and engages in regular exercise is still likely to need a cholesterol-lowering drug. And a Zetia TV spot ostensibly encourages healthful eating, but then features an outrageous visual suggesting that the cholesterol-blocking drug will allow a person to safely consume such high-cholesterol foods as a whole chicken and a piece of steak.
“The implied message is that consumers can have their cake—or their chili cheese dog or fried chicken—and eat it too, without worrying about high cholesterol or low fiber intake,” said PCRM dietitian Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “Using drugs to treat conditions that can be prevented with a healthy plant-based diet is contributing to a costly epidemic of chronic diseases.”
To watch all of the commercials and cast your vote for the one that presents the most misleading health message, visit www.pcrm.org.