September 2003, "The Skinny On Body Flex"
NEW YORK (CBS) Imagine losing up to 14-inches in just seven days without having to even get off the couch. That's what one of the country's most popular weight-loss programs promises. But is it too good to be true? CBS 2's Michael Pomeranz reports.
"Now in just seven days you can lose from 4 to 14 inches, over 20 million people have learned the Body Flex secret."
Have you seen this ad? It's the third most successful infomercial in America today.
"The reason why this is a popular product is because it requires almost no effort on the part of the participant," says Dr. Jana Klauer.
Exactly why 57-year-old Nana Queenie Lawrence says she shelled out $61 for the program, "I'm not lazy but I was injured and I can't move about like most people do, so to sit and be able to do exercise, I thought that would be great."
Lawrence says after watching this commercial, "A lot of people are either homebound or bed-ridden or they are in a wheelchair and they just want to sit and do exercises," she was convinced Body Flex could help her rehabilitate and lose weight.
To prove how well the program works Body Flex says they put it to the ultimate test, a doctor supervised clinical study, and found the test group lost an average of seven inches in just one week. "I've never seen a clinical study like this, it's ill defined, it has not been published," says Dr. Klauer.
Klauer, a fellow at the New York Obesity Research Center at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital says sorry folks Body Flex is just too good to be true.
The program, she says, is not endorsed by the American Sports Council the American Medical Association or any other reputable weight loss organization as a tried and true means of losing weight. "A product such as this is unfortunate because in America we have a tremendous incidence of obesity and it's too bad that it is marketed as a way to sit in front of your T.V. and exercise. Cause the people sitting in front of the T.V. are the people who should be up and walking and doing a real exercise program."
Like many exercise gimmicks, Klauer says there is a grain of truth to the Body Flex prescription. You need oxygen to break down food for energy, but more oxygen doesn't speed the fat burning process. "If all you had to do is breath to lose weight we'd be a nation of slim people."