Showing posts with the label Consumer Reports

Breaking News! Consumer Reports Offers a Lame Response to the Critics of the Diet Program Rankings

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it? --Albert Einstein Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals. --David Ogilvy The critics are finally discovering what I posted about last month about Consumer Reports' ranking of diet programs . Meanwhile, the media machine has already spread the "best" program "news" like a virus. The Google search term "Jenny Craig Best Program" (with quotes) has returned (as of June 7) about 47,000 results. Very few "critical" entries of the Consumer Reports diet program rankings. No exact results for the terms "critics of diet ratings" or "critics of diet rating." Nothing for "critics of Jenny Craig diet rating." Zip for "critics of Consumer Reports diet rating" and zero for "critics of Consumer Reports diet ratings." But buried within the rah, rah po

Shame on You, Jenny Craig for Hawking Your "Breaking News," "Best Program" BS!!!

Advertising is legalized lying. --H. G. Wells When I wrote the May 12, 2011, article Shame on You, Consumer Reports , I was careful not to include Jenny Craig in any negative way, for JC did not make the decision to use the Jenny Craig sponsored trial "Effect of a Free Prepared Meal and Incentivized Weight Loss Program on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance in Obese and Overweight Women" to decide "the best" program, but, rather, to test long-term efficacy of diet programs that provide both food and program fees to members for free. I even stressed the following: ...this article is not meant to disparage the Jenny Craig Program, which may be a fine program; I have never been a Jenny Craig member. My issue is with Consumer Reports and its research source for its rating of Jenny Craig. I believed (and still believe) that the underlying objective of the research was to prove that overall program efficacy and members' overall health would improve if

Consumer Reports (Again): Will MSNBC Investigate?

...I believe that good journalism, good television, can make our world a better place. And I really believe good journalism is good business. --Christiane Amanpour Yesterday, I was reading on the MSNBC site an article about the death of heiress Huguette Clark, when at the bottom of the page, I saw a form, calling for possible investigative news pieces, so I shot off the following: Hello, In its June 2011 issue, in its article "Pick your ideal diet," Consumer Reports selected Jenny Craig as the top diet plan. Unfortunately, they selected a study that had been financially supported by Jenny Craig. There are other problems with their research methodology, for example, only Jenny Craig was studied in this particular trial. So I wrote a rebuttal on my blog, picking apart their methodology: I also wrote some follow up posts:

Thought for the Day--May 14, 2011: Watching the Watchdog? A Call for Consumers Union Action: A Plea for Transparent Research Protocols

I think it's a good thing that there are bloggers out there watching very closely and holding people accountable. Everyone in the news should be able to hold up to that kind of scrutiny. I'm for as much transparency in the news gathering process as possible. --Anderson Cooper For my May 12 post Shame on You, Consumer Reports... , I was surprised at how difficult it was to track down Consumer Reports' primary research source for its diet rankings in the June 2011 issue ("Pick Your Ideal Diet"). I cite two reasons: 1. Consumer Reports omitted the name of the author and title of their primary source, the very source used to "edge" Jenny Craig into First Place. (Cheryl Rock, et al; "Effect of a Free Prepared Meal and Incentivized Weight Loss Program on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance in Obese and Overweight Women." (1803-1810) 2. The CR source appeared in the October 27, 2011, issue of JAMA, which published 2 articles and 2 op

Thought for the Day--May 13, 2011: Doing the Right Thing (But it was Difficult)

I think comparisons are odious. --John Madden Researching and writing yesterday's post has worn me out, but on May 9, after receiving my latest issue of Consumer Reports , I knew I had to respond. The process was confusing and long because while Consumer Reports cited a study in a specific issue of JAMA, the writer failed to include the title of the article, so I had to dig through the table of contents of JAMA to suss out which article CR had used as its source. In my mind, the most likely article was "Treatment Options for Obesity: Do Commercial Weight Loss Programs Have a Role?" Logical, right? Not. In fact, the "logical" article was simply an editorial in response to CR's real source: "Effect of a Free Prepared Meal and Incentivized Weight Loss Program on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance in Obese and Overweight Women: A Randomized Control Trial." If you have already read Consumer Reports Diet Program Ratings ("

Thought for the Day--May 12, 2011: Shame on You, Consumer Reports and How About a Refresher Course in Research Methodology 101?

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. --Attributed to Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke (1843–1911) What gave [Jenny Craig] the edge over the big names we assessed--stalwarts such as Atkins, Ornish, and Weight Watchers--was a 332-person [actually, it was a 442-person study], two-year study of the program published in the Oct. 27, 2010, Journal of the American Medical Association. [Title of article, which was omitted from CR's ratings or its accompanying article: "Effect of a Free Prepared Meal and Incentivized Weight Loss Program on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance in Obese and Overweight Women," by Cheryl L. Rock, PhD, RD, et al, and published online on Oct. 9, 2010.] ...Jenny Craig's prepared food was decent, though not great, as we noted in "Diet Taste-off" in our February 2011 issue. --"Pick your ideal diet," Consumer Reports , June 2011, page 14, after selecting Jenny Craig as the number 1 diet (Score

Memoir Madness: Driven to Involuntary Commitment