"Waste of time and money" - GPs deliver damning diagnosis on fad health-styles of the rich and famous reveals Aviva

November 23, 2009 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
GPs have today slammed the 'health-styles' of the rich and famous warning that UK women are wasting money and potentially risking their health following celebrity health fads like cupping, colonic irrigation or extreme detoxes.

The Aviva "Health Hoaxes" report reveals that more than three quarters (79%) of women use alternative health treatments favoured by celebrities that have the 'health-styles' they most admire.

Now, GPs have named and shamed the ten most useless alternative 'health' trends used by celebrities and their fans and, in a damning diagnosis, declared many a waste of money (92%) and with no medical value (93%).

Cupping therapy tops the list of 'health hoaxes', which also includes vitamin B12 injections, extreme yoga, and reflexology and macrobiotic diets.

The research has been conducted to support Aviva's My Health Cash Plan, a new scheme which allows individuals to choose their level of cover to protect themselves and their families.

Aviva also discovered that to try each treatment on the GPs' list could cost women more than £800* on average with upgrades to practitioners used by the celebs themselves seeing the costs running to thousands.

GPs have issued a stark warning that celebrities are having a dangerous level of influence over women's health choices (84%) and that celebrity endorsement of unproven health treatments could be putting the public at risk (93%):

- Nine in ten (94%) women believe celebrities pay for the very best and most effective treatments. A third (32%) will try a health fad simply because a celebrity has used it

- Seven in ten (70%) would try alternative treatments rather than visit their doctor

Dr Douglas Wright, Principal Clinical Consultant at Aviva UK Health, said: "At Aviva we understand that people like to deal with their own wellbeing in a number of ways, but too many women are wasting money following 'health' fads that have little effect just because it's expensive, or rumoured to be a celebrity favourite, is not an automatic guarantee that a treatment will work.

"What's more worrying is that some women are opting for treatment trends rather than seeking medical advice they might not be fashionable but tried and tested health routes are far safer and more beneficial."

The Aviva research also found almost half (46%) of women saying they've become more experimental in the last five years with their health treatments, with 54% following celebrity trends in magazines.

Dr. Wright adds:

"Although women seem happy to spend money on celebrity health trends, our consumer research showed that over 60% of people would be worried about their finances if their child or partner required medical attention.** This, together with our market research highlighted the increased need for low cost health benefits that complement the services offered by the NHS.

"We have developed our flexible My Health Cash Plan product to offer people peace of mind and meet this need."

The top ten least effective alternative treatments, according to the 200 GPs polled, are (average cost per treatment):

1. Cupping (£56)
2. Colonic Irrigation (£78)
3. Food intolerance testing (£137)
4. Detoxing (£112)
5. Macrobiotic diet (£83)
6. Aromatherapy (£59)
7. Reflexology (£56)
8. Vitamin B12 injections (£60)
9. Extreme yoga (£10)
10. Overnight health farm stay (£185)

Opting for the practitioners said to treat celebrities could see costs soaring. For example, a consultation with holistic doctor Nishi Joshi starts at £240 with subsequent sessions at £120.

And the first meeting with nutritionist Ian Marber, whose celebrity clients are said to include leading models, costs £125, after which the cost per session is £95.


* Based on a typical cost per session/treatment.
** Aviva commissioned Redshift to conduct research amongst over 1,000 full-time UK workers in June 2009.


About the research

Aviva UK Health commissioned:

- Medeconnect to conduct research amongst over 200 practicing UK GPs in September 2009

- Redshift to conduct research amongst over 1,000 British women aged 18 to 45 in September 2009