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Research Shows That Weight Loss Products Advertised In Spam E-Mail Are Purchased By Young Adults With Weight Problems: Psychological Stress Implicated

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Forty-one percent of college students with weight problems opened and read spam e-mail advertising weight loss products and 18.5 percent bought these weight loss products, according to a new study published in the January issue of the Southern Medical Journal. The research was conducted by Joshua Fogel, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of the Business Program at the Department of Economics at Brooklyn College , and Sam Shlivko, B.S., a former Brooklyn College student and currently a student at New York Law School.
In additional analyses considering the impact of a number of relevant variables, those with weight problems as compared to those without weight problems, were three times more likely to open/read and also three times more likely to purchase weight loss products from this spam e-mail. Also, increased psychological stress was associated with an increase in purchases of these weight loss products advertised in spam e-mail.
As lead investigator, Dr. Fogel analyzed data from a survey of 200 college students, who were asked if they had weight problems and if in the past year they received, opened/read, or purchased products from spam e-mail about weight loss topics. Psychological stress was measured by the Perceived Stress Scale.
"It appears that many young adults are turning to spam e-mail as a way to address their weight problem concerns," Dr. Fogel said. "This is of concern as there is no quality control for what is advertised in spam e-mail. These products can range from harmless to potentially dangerous. Some spam e-mail products even advertise and sell prescription medications without requiring proof of a valid prescription."
The study recommends to physicians, psychologists, dieticians, nurses, exercise physiologists, and other health care providers who counsel and treat those with weight problems that they should discuss with their patients the potential risks of opening/reading and purchasing weight loss products advertised in spam e-mail. It is well worth the brief time spent on this topic which can help prevent a young adult from having a potentially toxic side effect from using these weight loss products advertised in spam e-mail.
Southern Medical Journal
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