Capitol under the Rainbow

Throwing Oz under the Rainbow

Quite a buzz started last week when news surfaced that Dr. Mehmet Oz would give expert testimony at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on weight loss scams. People saw the possibility for a ridiculous spectacle or lots of unintended humor because of the “weight loss miracles” he’s promoted on his show. Our own posts about this news set new records for web traffic and social media engagement.

So people found it tremendously satisfying when Oz wound up on the hot seat instead of the expert seat at the hearing. Senator Claire McCaskill, who had organized the meeting, said to Oz:

The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called “miracles.” I don’t get why you need to say this stuff when you know it’s not true. When you have this amazing megaphone, why would you cheapen your show? With power comes a great deal of responsibility.”

How did this happen? Perhaps McCaskill had planned an ambush all along. Or perhaps the plan gelled when representatives of the Obesity Care Continuum (the Obesity Society, Obesity Action Coalition, ASMBS, ASBP, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) met with senate staff responsible for planning the meeting. Martin Binks, Chris Gallagher, and Pepin Tuma shared concerns about the some of the “weight loss miracles” that Oz features on his show. Staff listened closely.

And then the very next day, Oz looked stunned when the committee lit into him. He admitted using “flowery” language about such products and said something lame about helping to drain the swamp.

Seeing truth surface just feels good.

Click here to read more from CNN and click here to read our story about the hearing announcement.

Capitol under the Rainbow, photograph © Lana M / flickr

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2 Responses to “Throwing Oz under the Rainbow”

  1. June 19, 2014 at 7:46 am, Mary-Jo said:

    This was a well-taken opportunity to give a strong message against abusing one’s powerful position and celeb status to make profits on the backs of vulnerable overweight/obese individuals. It also was a great vindication to all the serious, hard-working efforts of obesity experts, scientists, clinicians, and professionals. I’m very thankful to the Committee and to the Obesity Care Continuum for giving time, work, and thoughtfulness to this issue.

    • June 19, 2014 at 5:53 pm, Ted said:

      Thanks for speaking up, Mary-Jo. I agree. “Miracle weight loss” promises exploit people, trivialize obesity, and promote a sense of futility about health.