Obesity in childhood is regarded as an epidemic in the US. Over one-third or 12.5 million American children can be categorized as overweight or obese according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Children, and teenagers in particular, are still developing both mentally and physically, and proper nutrition is essential in this phase of development.
Improper dieting can lead to serious health issues and eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
Taking Weight Loss Pills Or Supplements
One of the main considerations is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate these supplements, so you cannot know if the products are safe.
Teens have been known to use fat burners or thermogenics to increase heat by way of metabolic stimulation. If your metabolic rate increases, you will tend to lose weight. Ephedra has been used to promote weight loss, but the FDA banned it entirely in the wake of adverse side effects that include heart attacks, seizures, and death.
The drug orlistat is sold under the brand name Alli as an over the counter medication in the US and the UK. Elsewhere it is a prescription medicine. Manufacturers haven't tested this drug in folks under age 18. In fact, it is not recommended for teenagers at all.
Some weight loss supplements help you lose fat and reduce your weight. For example, Orlistat prevents fat absorption in the diet by acting as a lipase inhibitor. So it does work with a 10 pound average loss which is considered a moderate weight loss at best. However, It is supposed to be used with a reduced calorie diet with regular exercise, but this alone could result in weight loss.
There are always some risks or side effects when taking anything for the body. Orlistat is known for some rather unpleasant side effects such as gastrointestinal problems (abdominal bloating, flatulence, and oily, loose stools. Heat producing thermogenics are known to cause stroke, heart problems, and even death.
Many other supplements contain caffeine, which if taken large amounts can give you side effects. These effects include restlessness, anxiousness, dizziness, and a heartbeat that is racing like Secretariat!
If teens want to lose weight but prefer to do without the side effects, they should have a discussion with their doctor about teenage weight loss supplements, eating a balanced low calorie diet, and starting an exercise program.
What's Available for Teenagers
In 2003 the FDA approved the first prescription diet pills for teens, especially 12 to 16 year old teenagers.
Xenical provides a safe treatment option for overweight and obese adolescents and in 1998 it was approved for use in adults. Xenical works by preventing about one-third of the dietary fat from being absorbed into the body.
PhenTabzTeen is the first weight loss pills for teens. It is made by Gentech Pharmaceuticals from a non-prescription pharmaceutical formula. Pharmacological improvements have reached a point where teens can be provided with more effective medications with fewer side effects.
Natural Green Tea Extract
Instead of taking pills to shed those pounds there are alternarives, such as the natural and healthy green tea extracts.
Green Tea extract contains high antioxidant levels that help to improve health, along with containing caffeine that can help to increase your energy levels and metabolism. Increased energy levels make you willing to participate in physical exercise, burn more calories and lose weight.
Many products contain green tea extract, but you should consult with your doctor to determine which product suits you best.
Natural Hoodia Gordonii Appetite Suppressant
The natural Hoodia gordonii is a type of cactus or succulent plant that grows naturally in Namibia and South Africa.
Once it is processed into pill form, it acts as an appetite suppressant that keeps you from eating high calorie snacks.
The product you buy should be 100 percent Hoodia or else you shouldn't buy it. So be aware as there are a number of products that say they contain Hoodia but really have none or very little.
Prescription Diet Pills
Diet pills are now available on prescription but are generally only prescribed for individuals who have severe obesity that is impairing their overall health and wellbeing significantly.
Xenical is one such pill, and it inhibits fat absorption. Your body is prevented from breaking down the fat that is part of your meals. This fat is released in a bowel movement, so it never gets to change into body fat.
Only patients that have severe weight issues may receive this medication due to serious side effects that include addiction, elevated blood pressure, and increased heart rate. Teenagers that have obesity-related health problems may find that this is a good method to treat and relieve these issues.
What Are The Age Requirements?
One common question is how old do you have to be to buy pills or supplements to help you lose weight?
There are really no age restrictions to buy over-the-counter diet pills, unless the ingredients include ephedra or some steroid-type substitutes. In America, some states like Florida may prohibit diet pill sales to anyone under 18 years old with some stores having a policy to prohibit sales to those under 18.
There are many natural products that help to lose weight, such as some mentioned above. As these are natural, they generally can be taken by anyone, but will need to be purchased by an adult.
Pills and supplements should be considered as an additional boost to lose weight and therefore, for best results should be taken alongside a balanced healthy diet and some form of regular exercise.