Ban on paid weight loss advice leads to Mississippi lawsuit

March 2, 2020 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A woman sued the state of Mississippi after health officials told her only registered dietitians could charge to give advice how to lose weight.

Donna Harris is a personal trainer and studied nutrition in college. Her website pointed out she was not a registered dietitian and planned to give basic, personalized advice to healthy people for a $99 fee.

But the Mississippi Department of Health sent her a letter threatening jail time and fines if she continued and did not back down after Harris explained what she was doing, The Clarion Ledger reported.


The agency did not relent, saying Harris needed the 1,200 hours of supervised practice and pass an exam and get her license.′

So Harris shut down her site, refunded $7,000 to customers and on Friday sued several members of the Department of Health.

The agency told the newspaper it didn’t have a comment on the lawsuit.

“While Mississippi certainly has the authority to regulate who may claim to be licensed by the state as a dietitian, it has no legitimate authority to grant licensed dietitians a monopoly on advice about what healthy adults should buy at the grocery store,” Harris’ lawsuit said.