Update in New York
We are sorry to have to report that New York Assembly Bill A431C/Senate Bill S16D, bills to ban the sale of diet pill and muscle-building supplements to minors in New York, did not pass this year in the state legislature. Though this is very disappointing, the bill made tremendous progress in New York by passing a Senate floor vote last week and making it onto the agenda for the final Assembly floor vote yesterday – but alas, the Assembly adjourned for the session last night before they had a chance to vote on our bill and a number of others.
Although this outcome was not what we had hoped for, we are optimistic about the bill’s future. The widespread support for the bill in the New York legislature puts us in a good place for the next session in New York, starting January 2022. We’ll be picking up work on our bill in California in January 2022 too, so the timing is perfect. In the meantime, our sights are on Massachusetts, where we are actively supporting the bill being considered in the Joint Committee on Public Health. Stay tuned for more updates on the Massachusetts campaign.
Thank you all for your dedicated advocacy and perseverance throughout this process. We are especially grateful to New York Senator Shelley B. Mayer and Assemblymember Nily Rozic, and California Assemblymember Cristina Garcia for being amazing champions of the bill and leading the charge in New York and California to protect young people. We won’t be giving up, and we are excited to be back in action on this campaign next year!
Protecting young people from dangerous weight loss and muscle-building products
Supplements sold to induce weight loss or muscle growth are common and widely available to consumers of all ages. They also rarely work as advertised; although they are marketed as being herbal in origin, they often contain unlisted chemical ingredients. Stimulants, anti-depressants, and the active ingredient in failed weight-loss drug Meridia (sibutramine) have all been found in these products, and young people have died from their use. That’s why eating disorders clinicians and researchers consider their use an “unhealthy weight control behavior” (abbreviated UWCB). UWCBs are risk factors for eating disorders that can become symptoms as a disorder develops. From pills and powders on pharmacy shelves to teas and lollipops advertised on billboards and Instagram, these products are widely available and heavily promoted. The FDA can test these products once there is evidence of a problem, and can issue recalls when contaminants are found. But for the most part, the purchase of these products is unrestricted and young people may not be aware of the risks. Thankfully, lawmakers from three states have introduced legislation to keep these dangerous products #OutOfKidsHands.
Thank you Rep. Khan (MA), Senator Rush (MA), Assemblymember Garcia (CA), Assemblymember Rozic (NY), and Senator Mayer (NY) for being champions of bills to protect young people from dangerous weight loss and muscle-building supplements. For more updates on each states’ legislation, check out our MA, NY, and CA Out of Kids’ Hands Campaign pages below.
Want to get involved with the Out of Kids’ Hands Campaign and see the bills cross the finish line? Contact us at STRIPED@hsph.harvard.edu
- Check out our helpful resources that detail key rationale for these bills:
- Don’t miss STRIPED’s 6-video training series on how providers can discuss dietary supplements to keep patients safe.
- Check out this campaign featured in the STRIPED Advocacy Playbook.
- Post to Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using the hashtags #outofkidshands (reflecting this specific campaign) and #mapoli (which will help people interested in Massachusetts politics find your posts)
More reading about the dangers of dietary supplements for weight loss & muscle-building and other resources:
- USC Annenberg’s Center for Health Journalism on the dangers that weight loss and muscle-building supplements have for youth and children of color as well as the legislation that is moving forward in Massachusetts, New York and California to restrict the sale of these supplements.
- Attorneys General Letter on Dietary Supplements, sent by several state Attorneys General to the bipartisan leaders of the House Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, & Data Security and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health in 2015.
- New York Times Letter to the Editor on the importance of this campaign
- New York Times article on the risks of muscle-building supplements: “When Teen Boys Use Supplements”
- Boston Globe article on the importance of this bill: “Dietary supplements, largely unregulated, deserve the state’s skepticism”
- New York 1 news piece and interview with Iman Hariri-Kia on dangerous dietary supplements
- American Academy of Pediatrics Reports:
- Papers co-authored by STRIPED Director S. Bryn Austin:
- Article in the Harvard Public Health Review by S. Bryn Austin titled Odds, Arcs, and Policy Change: A Step-by-Step Look at a Public Health Campaign Taking on the Dietary Supplements Industry
- Article co-authored by STRIPED’s Jordan Levinson and STRIPED Director S. Bryn Austin: Diet Pill and Laxative Use for Weight Control and Subsequent Incident Eating Disorder in US Young Women: 2001–2016
- News article from the Harvard Public Health Review: “How America’s Flawed Supplement Law Creates the Mirage of Weight Loss Cures”
- Supplements and Health: Sorting the Facts Forum and Live Facebook Pre-Event Q&A, presented on May 11, 2017.
If you have questions, please contact Monique Santoso at firstname.lastname@example.org.