‘Marie Claire’ on Article Controversy: ‘We Welcomed the Level of Passion’

A recent Marie Claire article titled “The Hunger Diaries: How Health Writers Could Be Putting You At Risk” has stirred up major controversy over its stance that six popular health and fitness bloggers might be putting readers at risk by publishing unhealthy information. According to the story, the content these “big six” bloggers are producing creates an “arguably unhealthy obsession with food, exercise, and weight.”

“Doctors consulted by Marie Claire supported the women’s aim to be healthy, and said certain meals seemed more nourishing than others, but found aspects of the blogs alarming,” the story reads. The article goes on to quote a New Jersey developmental psychologist who said,”The sheer number of food images and intense exercise descriptions can be particularly triggering to eating-disorder-prone followers.”

As of today, the story has more than 100 comments many of them calling the article unfair and untrue. (Update after the jump.)

In response to a PRNewser inquiry about the magazine’s response, a spokesperson wrote:

“At Marie Claire we are always open to a good debate and we welcomed the level of passion generated by “The Hunger Diaries” in the November issue. Like every article published in Marie Claire, this one was researched and edited carefully over the course of many months, and we stand by its content.”

The longer statement, also published on Fishbowl NY, reads:

To our readers: Thank you all for your responses to this article. Since the piece went online, hundreds of you have written to us. Twitter, Facebook, your blogs, and comments on our website have all been lighting up with messages, and we are thrilled to hear from you. Some of you wrote in anger, while others applauded us for voicing concerns about this community. We believe the outpouring of comments proves the issues raised in the piece are important. This is a controversial subject, and we always welcome a good debate. Like every article published in Marie Claire, this one was researched and edited carefully over the course of many months, and we stand by its content. Thank you for letting us know how you feel — we are listening!

The magazine can’t be faulted for standing by the truth of the article and the work that went into it, but does this statement go far enough to resolve the issue? Without a clear resolution, commenters will likely continue to criticize the article and add their criticism of the way that the magazine is handling the situation. Your thoughts?

Update: One of the sources in the story commented under the alias “VeggieGirl88” alleging that she had not actually been contacted by the reporter. Marie Claire has also responded to that claim with a note in the comments reading:

Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Posted by: MarieClaireMag1

Hi VeggieGirl88, we actually do have a record of our mutual correspondence on file. We can contact you privately to confirm. Thanks.