Pinterest bans all weight loss ads over eating disorder concerns

Pinterest has announced sweeping changes to its ad policy regarding weight-loss advertisements. The company cites the surprising uptick in eating disorders and problematic eating habits that are primarily impacting young people. After months spent socially isolating, many people are heading back out and socializing — and trying to crash diet to shed their pandemic pounds.

According to Pinterest, it is the first and only "major platform" to roll out a widespread ban on weight loss advertisements, including ones that may involve related imagery and language, testimonials, references to BMI and related metrics, certain weight loss products, and ads that may idealize or denigrate various body types.

The updated ad policy went live on July 1, expanding the previous policy that already prohibited ads related to things like pills and supplements, procedures, unrealistic claims, and before-and-after images. The new policy won't extend to ads that involve fitness services or the promotion of healthy habits and lifestyles — assuming they avoid weight loss content, that is.

Pinterest says it updated its ad policy with guidance from the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), which has praised the company for its blanket ban on weight loss advertisements. In a statement, the association's interim CEO Elizabeth Thompson said:

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.

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