Complaints about Downsize Me partially upheld

Recent complaints made about the TV programme Downsize Me have been partially upheld by the Boradcasting Standards Authority.

Jan Milne, Executive Director of the New Zealand Dietetic Association, commented today,

“The New Zealand Dietetic Association is pleased complaints made about the program Downsize Me were partially upheld by the Broadcasting Standards Authority.   The professional association for dietitians was concerned that it was not made clear to viewers that the program was intended for the participants in the show because the disclaimer was small and difficult to read.  Several statements by the presenter were not articulated as opinion and were contrary to current scientific evidence.  Conflicting messages cause confusion for the public and when applied can cause harm to the participants in the show and the public.  A good example is the complaint that was upheld by the BSA about the promotion of coconut oil.  Dietitians stand by the overwhelming evidence that the best choices of fats for health for most of us are safflower, sesame, olive and rice bran oils.

“The nature of the complaints process means that many of the positive aspects of the show Downsize Me were missed.  In general the show achieved the purpose of being entertaining and conveying an uplifting social message. The presenter enthusiastically promoted and provided novel ways of preparing vegetables and fruit. He advocated eating regularly, cooking more and ditching the junk food in an entertaining way.  The association does not want to undermine the huge value of the program but would recommend that future programs be enhanced by authenticating the accuracy of information or making a clear distinction between what is opinion and what is fact.  Dietitians are registered experts in food and nutrition and are well qualified to provide accurate up to date nutrition information to the public and individuals.”

For more details about the complaints made, see the Science Media Centre Science Alert issued on November 18th 2008.