Look Before You Leap

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The Power of The Word

Words have power. Comments from so called "expert" authorities and testimonials by enthusiastic customers shout at African Americans through magazine, television, radio and Internet ads. They amaze us with compelling claims about cures of every kind. Actors dressed as doctors spout scientific "facts" to support the latest cure–all. The words may be convincing, but convincing words can be deceptive and untrue. Black consumers of health products should BEWARE. Unsubstantiated promises of quick remedies for weight loss, nutritional enhancements, male "energy" boosters, hair loss restorers, stress relievers and other "miracle discoveries" are designed to fool the gullible and unsuspecting into forking over their faith and their cash for products that simply don’t work.

They Can’t Say It If It’s Not True

But they do! Government agencies mandate truth in advertising, but many popular health product warnings and disclaimers often appear so quickly or in print so small they might as well be invisible. By the time consumers complain to regulatory agencies, the manufacturer has retired with millions. While these products rarely do actual harm to the body, the claim of an instant turn–around for your particular health problem is harmful in itself. Not only do they take your money, these false claims erode hope and prevent African–Americans from taking real action steps to resolve our health concerns.

Let Common Sense Prevail

Most Black people are familiar with the saying, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." These are wise words. When it comes to health, there are no easy fixes. It takes years to put on unwanted pounds. Logically, those pounds will not disappear overnight, no matter what kind of pills or exercise machines we buy. And, unless someone is on a starvation fast, it is virtually impossible to lose weight while we sleep.

Like successful weight reduction, the aging process should be a natural evolution of our minds, bodies and spirits. Covering a few gray hairs with dye is one thing, but 60–year–olds who expect to restore their bodies to that of a 20–year–old by swallowing a "miracle shake," are only deluding themselves, plain and simple.

What’s New Under The Sun?

Not much. Medical science is continuously creating new drugs and finding new uses for known drugs – all of which have to go through extensive testing for effectiveness and safety before they are approved by the Food and Dug Administration (FDA) and released to the public. The FDA evaluation process is designed to protect the public from harm. Exotic remedies or quick fixes do not undergo such testing, and their claims have not been scientifically proven to be true.

African Americans can turn our health profiles around with the tried and true: proper diet, regular exercise, working in partnership with a health care provider, quiet time by ourselves and with loved ones, and working consistently toward creating a balanced life.

Look Before You Leap

If you find some advertising just too wonderful to resist, try this first: Check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints against the manufacturer a good source to spot trouble. Don’t leap toward empty promises and disappointment. Always use your head before you reach for your wallet.

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