Over-the-Counter Diet Pills & Muscle Supplements: Ban Sale to Children

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: