Pinterest Bans ALL Weight Loss Ads

Pinterest puts "body acceptance" ahead of health with new ad policy banning ALL weight loss promotions

New York (CNN Business) – Pinterest on Thursday announced that it will ban all advertisements related to weight loss from its platform in an effort to prevent content that could encourage unhealthy or disordered eating habits.

The bookmarking site said it will also prohibit ads with language or images that promote or disparage certain body types.

“There’s been a steep rise in unhealthy eating habits and eating disorders in young people since the Covid-19 pandemic started last year,” Pinterest (PINS) said in a statement, citing data from the National Eating Disorders Association.

“At least 2.8 million people each year die as a result of being overweight or obese.” – World Health Organization

The policy goes into effect Thursday. As with all online content moderation policies, however, the challenge for platforms is usually not setting the rule so much as enforcing it and ensuring no one circumvents the policy.

While Pinterest is often thought of as a feel-good corner of the internet, it used to have a problem with content that promoted potentially harmful eating and lifestyle habits, sometimes known as “thinspiration,” “thinspo” or “pro-anorexia.” Pinterest banned such content in 2012, but pro-eating disorder content has been found on the platform in the years since … Click here to read more; full Pinterest policy below. 

“Obesity is a complex disease … that increases your risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers.” – Mayo Clinic, whose bestselling book and weight loss program, The Mayo Clinic Diet, would be apparently banned by the new policy

Pinterest Weight Loss Ad Policy Update

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July 1, 2021

PINTEREST – Around the world, people of all ages are facing challenges related to body image and mental health, particularly as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and kick-off the summer season.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), there’s been a steep rise in unhealthy eating habits and eating disorders in young people since the COVID-19 pandemic started last year1,2. Many are now feeling added pressure as they look to rejoin their social circles in person for the first time in 15 months.

Pinterest is the place people come for inspiration to create life they love. It’s where everyone belongs—regardless of body shape or size. We’re empowering Pinners to plan for a summer and beyond without weight loss ads, so they can focus on what matters most. Beginning July 1st, 2021, we’re updating our ad policies to prohibit all ads with weight loss language and imagery. Pinterest content continues below …

“Obesity is a term that means you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. It makes you more likely to have conditions including: Heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, some cancers, gallbladder disease and gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout, breathing problems, such as sleep apnea, and asthma.” WebMD

This stance makes Pinterest the only major platform to prohibit all weight loss ads. It’s an expansion of our ad policies that have long prohibited body shaming and dangerous weight loss products or claims. We encourage others in the industry to do the same and acknowledge, once and for all, that there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all.

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Our updated policy will now prohibit:

  • Any weight loss language or imagery;
  • Any testimonials regarding weight loss or weight loss products;
  • Any language or imagery that idealizes or denigrates certain body types;
  • Referencing Body Mass Index (BMI) or similar indexes; and
  • Any products that claim weight loss through something worn or applied to the skin
  • This is in addition to ad content that is already barred from Pinterest, including:
  • Weight loss or appetite suppressant pills, supplements, or other products;
  • Before-and-after weight-loss imagery;
  • Weight loss procedures like liposuction or fat burning;
  • Body shaming, such as imagery or language that mocks or discredits certain body types or appearances; and
  • Claims regarding unrealistic cosmetic results

Ads promoting healthy lifestyles and habits or fitness services and products will still be allowed, as long as they don’t focus on weight loss. This policy change was developed with the guidance and advice of NEDA.

“The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) applauds Pinterest for taking a leadership position as the first platform to prohibit all ads with weight-loss language and imagery. NEDA is encouraged by this necessary step in prioritizing the mental health and well-being of Pinners, especially those impacted by diet culture, body shaming, and eating disorders. We are hopeful this global policy will encourage other organizations and companies to reflect on potentially harmful ad messages and to establish their own working policies that will create meaningful change,” said Elizabeth Thompson, Interim CEO for the National Eating Disorders Association. SOURCE.

“Even a modest weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight is likely to produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.” – CDC 



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