- Ashley Labar
- (916) 319-2767
(Sacramento)–Yesterday, AB 1341 authored by Assembly member Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) passed the Assembly Floor and is off to the Governor for signature. AB 1341 will prohibit any retail establishment from selling, transferring, or furnishing dietary supplements for weight loss or over the counter (OTC) diet pills to anyone under 18 years of age.
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia said of her legislation, "We need to do more to protect our youth from the harmful effects that weight loss supplements and over-the-counter diet pills have on our youth. With easy access, our youth are subject to eating disorders and many other health implications. We need to stand up to an industry that puts profit over people.”
Health officials are growing increasingly alarmed by the use of diet pills and weight-loss supplements and want to limit their access especially in the face of the COVID 19 pandemic, “As a pediatrician specializing in adolescent eating disorders, I have cared for countless youth in California who have used weight loss supplements and diet pills, developed eating disorders, become critically ill, and required hospitalization. Hospitalizations for eating disorders have doubled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said University of California San Francisco Assistant Professor, Dr. Jason Nagata.
Diet pills and weight loss supplements have limited regulatory oversight and have raised alarms among youth health advocates “Some of these dietary supplements are laced with banned pharmaceuticals, steroids, and other toxic ingredients. Dangerous stimulants are also often found in widely available supplements for weight loss. That’s just bad for our children and they need to be protected from exploitation,” said body image advocate Kelsey Wu the founder of For Her.
According to usage across race/ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status hurts many communities that already shoulder other health burdens. Additional findings include:
- Women are two times more likely to use weight loss supplements and OTC diet pills than men1
- African American and Latinx adults are at a higher risk of using weight loss supplements than white adults1
- People in households with annual income less than $40,000 are more likely to use dietary supplements for weight loss than those with higher incomes1
- Latinx teens are 40% more likely to use OTC diet pills than white teens2
The legislation is now on the Governor’s desk for signature.
Founder of For Her, Kelsey Wu:
“What’s so scary right now is that the groups who are supposed to be protecting us teenagers from these dangerous products are doing the exact opposite. Take the Council for Responsible Nutrition as an example. Their name indicates that they are a group that values safe and responsible nutrition, however, they want to be able to sell these dangerous products to minors in California and are opposed to AB 1341. Speaking on behalf of the children of California, all we are asking is for our leaders of the state to step up and act to protect the millions of youth in California from these dangerous products.”
University of California San Francisco Assistant Professor, Dr. Jason Nagata:
“Youth who use over-the-counter diet pills are six times more likely to be diagnosed with an eating disorder compared to nonusers. Diet pills, weight loss supplements, and eating disorders affect youth of all races, genders, sexual orientations, sizes, and socio-economic backgrounds."
Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders, Director, Dr. Bryn Austin:
“The scientific research on the dangers of using weight-loss supplements is as incontrovertible as it is chilling: These products have been found again and again to contain a toxic brew of undisclosed ingredients linked to heart palpitations, cardiac arrest, stroke, and even liver damage so extensive as to require organ transplant or resulting in death. Knowing what we know today about these products, how can we continue to let the manufacturers and retailers who profit from them play Russian roulette with the children of California?”
The 58th Assembly District includes the cities of Montebello, Pico Rivera, Commerce, Bell Gardens, Downey, Norwalk, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia.
1 Pillitteri JL, Shiffman S, Rohay JM, Harkins AM, Burton SL, Wadden TA. Use of dietary supplements for weight loss in the United States: Results of a national survey. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008;16(4):790-796. doi:10.1038/oby.2007.136
2 Vitagliano J, Beccia A, Mattei J, Cory H, Austin SB. Disproportionate risk of over-the-counter diet pill use among Latinx youth: Results of a national study (In preparation).