A man lifts weight as part of his training during a six-week programme in an exercise room at the Bodyworks weight loss campus in Beijing August 26, 2011. Participants at the Bodyworks weight loss campus come from across China, paying 30,000 yuan ($4,696)
Representational picture Reuters

A top England doctor is urging social media companies to ban celebrity-endorsed weight loss product advertisements, saying that they contain potentially damaging messages. His comments come on the back of a rising number of celebrities and influencers who are marketing weight loss pills, drinks and lifestyle changes without first vetting their safety.

National Health Service (NHS) medical director Prof. Stephen Powis said in a report by the BBC that influential celebrities' social media accounts have a huge effect on the mental and physical health of the young. He called out the products that offer weight loss promises that are "too good to be true" and quick fixes to their health problems.

Powis also said that social media companies have a duty to ban individuals and brands that are using celebrity status to market questionable or unproven health products to the young. He also cautioned the public that taking anything that affects the body without consulting a health professional is a huge risk, specifically with get-thin-quick products and procedures and cosmetic treatments.

Social media influencers earn thousands and even millions of dollars for simply posting ads for brands and, unfortunately, most do not bother to vet their quality and risks in exchange for a sweet deal. Thus, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) released official guidelines for online celebrities with regards to which posts are paid and which are actual real-deal reviews.

In the document "An Influencer's Guide to Making Clear That Ads Are Ads," it is now required for celebrities to make obvious and blatant if anything they are posting is promoted and paid content. The notice should be visible and clear enough so that it is apparent to the reader without having to interact with the post or click any link. The post should include words such as Ad, Advertising, Paid Content, Sponsored Post and the like.

The issue of dangerous influencer marketing has also been put in the spotlight recently with the documentaries released about the ill-fated Fyre Festival on Netflix and Hulu. Reportedly, model Kendall Jenner was paid $250,000 just to post about Fyre and this was done without any note that it is a sponsored ad. Jenner has not publicly confirmed anything, though the documentaries mentioned it, as well as posts from other top models. According to the latest update, Jenner and other supermodels Alessandra Ambrosio and Bella Hadid might be called in for questioning about how much they received.

This article was first published in IBTimes US. Permission required for reproduction.