Out of Kids’ Hands

Help us protect minors from dangerous weight loss and muscle-building products

MA lawmakers heard your voices &granted another extension till May 30, 2020, for the committee to decide on H.1942, An Act protecting children from harmful diet pills and muscle-building supplements. This means this important bill is alive and kicking, thanks to your powerful advocacy!

Help us make Massachusetts the 1st state to stop selling diet pills & muscle-building supplements to minors. Urge Rep. John Mahoney, MA Public Health Committee Chair, to support HB.1942 and keep diet pills & muscle-building supplements out of kids hands. Email Rep. Mahoney at john.mahoney@mahouse.gov or tweet at @RepJohnMahoney

Feel free to use the below action alert to email Rep. John Mahoney– make sure to edit the bits [in brackets]:

Dear Chairperson Mahoney,

I am writing to register my strong support for H.1942, “An Act protecting children from harmful diet pills and muscle-building supplements,” favorably out of committee. It is critical to keep this bill alive to protect children from the unsafe effects of these largely unregulated products. This can be done by simply restricting their sale to those 18 or older and moving them behind the counter.

I would appreciate your advocacy and favorably report out this legislation (H.1942) prior to May 30, 2020. 

Unfortunately, our culture’s intense focus on weight can lead far too many young people to use diet pills or supplements in attempts to lose weight or gain muscle mass. Not only are these products unregulated and unproven, they can contribute to a lifetime of eating disorders and other serious health problems. Just recently, a Dallas woman had to be rushed to the hospital in order to receive a life-saving liver transplant due to liver failure associated with weight loss supplements. Unfortunately, the immense health risks due to these supplements are not a rare occurrence.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released reports stating that teens should never use diet pills or muscle-building supplements. I agree and hope that you will support this common-sense measure to keep these deceptive products out of the hands of kids.

Thank you,
[Your name]
[Your address and phone number]

Protecting young people in MA 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.

Here in Massachusetts, a group of advocates is trying to change that. An Act Protecting Children From Harmful Diet Pills and Muscle-Building Supplements, H.1942, was first introduced by Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton) in 2015. This bill would restrict the sale of these products to adults ages 18 and over, and require businesses to keep them behind a counter or in a locked case, in order to keep these dangerous products #OutOfKidsHands.

Partner Organization Letter in support of MA H.1942

Want to get involved with the Out of Kids’ Hands Campaign?

More reading about the dangers of dietary supplements for weight loss and muscle-building and other resources:

If you have questions, please contact Julia Vitagliano at julia.vitagliano@childrens.harvard.edu.