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.
A number of states have already spearheaded efforts to protect minors from the dangers of dietary supplements sold for weight-loss and muscle-building. Click here for updates on their advocacy efforts.
Below you will find important materials to help you bring this important advocacy effort to
your state and community:
Paper co-authored by STRIPED Director S. Bryn Austin: The Dangerous Mix of Adolescents and Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss and Muscle Building: Legal Strategies for State Action
Summaries of research studies explaining the dangers of diet pills and muscle-building supplements.
A selection of news stories about the dangers of dietary supplement use. This 1-pager will grab the attention of policymakers, legislative staff, and advocates alike.
A fact sheet on the dangers of over-the-counter dietary supplements and steps your state can take to protect young people from these harmful supplements.
A fact sheet on the health inequities of over-the-counter dietary supplements.
A general fact sheet on dietary supplements regulation.
A fact sheet explaining the problem and how your state can address this issue.
This policy brief defines the problem and explains how you can use policies to address this important issue.
Talking points when speaking with decision-makers and advocates on this issue.