What Your Teen Needs to Know About Diet Pills

By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter
By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) - Hollywood is shrinking, not the city, but its celebrities.

They seem to be getting thinner and thinner, and teen girls are taking drastic measures to copy them.

In this week's Healthy Tennessean, Medical Reporter Jessa Goddard takes a closer look at the effect of diet pills on growing bodies.

Some studies estimate as many as one-fifth of teenage girls are using diet pills to lose weight.

And they're starting to use them earlier and earlier, with dangerous consequences on their health.

Stars like Nicole Richie and Mary Kate Olsen are famous for being famously thin.

And teen girls are infamous for trying to copy their sometimes skeletal frames.

The Metropolitan Drug Commission's Tyra Haag says the pressure to be thin has moved from high schools to middle schools, and into your child's elementary school.

And children are taking drastic measures to reach this new ideal of thinness.

-Appetite Suppressants.
-Fat and Carb Blockers.
-Metabolism Boosters.
-And Cortisol Managers.

And they're all readily available for purchase, over-the-counter, or over the internet.

A major concern, because of the side effects ranging from chest pain to kidney damage to high blood pressure.

Some metabolism boosters containing Ephedra bring with them the risk of heart attack. The reason the FDA banned high doses of the herbal supplement, and why your child shouldn't use any product that contains it.

And Haag says, on top of all that, most diet pills are also addictive.

And some tests reveal large amounts of stimulating agents like Ephedra and caffeine not listed on the label.

Ironically, habitual diet pill users are three times more likely to be overweight, likely because of other unhealthy weight loss behaviors, like bingeing, vomiting and skipping meals.


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