Out of Kids’ Hands

Call for California Advocates

We are thrilled to hear that California assembly bill “Dietary supplements for weight loss and over-the-counter diet pills” (AB-1341), championed by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, has passed it’s first policy committee yesterday. AB-1341 is now scheduled for a hearing in the CA Judiciary committee on Tuesday, April 27, 9a-1:30p PT / 12p-4:30p ET.

California advocates- we need your help! Email or call members of the CA Judiciary Committee and urge them to support AB-1341. Below is a brief script you can follow. Please make sure to edit the bits [in brackets]:

Dear [Assembly Member’s Name],

I am writing to register my strong support for AB-1341, “Dietary supplements for weight loss and over-the-counter diet pills,” introduced by Assembly Member Cristina Garcia. It is critical to support this to protect children from the unsafe effects of these largely underregulated products. This can be done by simply restricting their sale to those 18 or older.

AB-1341 will be heard by the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, April 27. As a California resident, [if you live in the Assembly Member’s district, please instead write “As your constituent”] I’m asking you to vote in favor of this legislation (AB-1341). 

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. Not only are these products underregulated, unproven, and laced with dangerous chemicals, they can contribute to a lifetime of eating disorders and other serious health problems.

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

Thank you,
[Your name]
[Your address]
[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.2331  (introduced by Representative Kay Khan) and S.1525 (introduced by Senator Michael Rush) would restrict the sale of these products to adults ages 18 and over 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.