Many people turn to diet pills in an effort to lose weight and burn off excess fat. However, diet pills can be dangerous, especially when they are used incorrectly. Therefore, the vast majority of medications – whether they are prescription medications or not – are intended for adult use only and are not recommended for the treatment or prevention of obesity in children. But, what about kids who are overweight or obese? Can they benefit the use of a weight loss product, or would that be too risky? Well, the answer is pretty simple: unless prescribed and monitored closely by a doctor, diet pills for children are not considered a healthy method of weight loss in kids.
Are Diet Pills for Children Ever Safe?
Are their any safe diet pills for children? This is a difficult question to answer because there have not been enough controlled clinical studies conducted on diet pills for children to make this determination.
Due to the lack of research, doctors are very reluctant to prescribe anorectic (water loss) pills to prepubescent children and will only usually consider this option in extreme cases of obesity when previous methods, such as dietary and other lifestyle modifications continuously fail.
Furthermore, when a health care practitioner prescribes diet pills for children, the child is carefully monitored and must undergo frequent nutritional and family counseling, as well as adopt a regular exercise routine.
Why Diet Pills for Children Are a Bad Idea
Why are diet pills not an ideal option for children? You might think that if a pill has been designed to help you burn fat and shed a few pounds, how could it really be a poor choice for an extremely overweight child? After all, wouldn’t helping them lose weight outweigh the risks of possible side effects?
The reality is that many prescription diet drugs have not been FDA approved for use in children who are less than 16 years of age. And, there are a number of other reasons why these medications are considered too risky for kids, some of which include:
- Children have smaller bodies than adults so they are far more susceptible to drug toxicity. Thus, it is difficult to decide on a safe and suitable dosage.
- Some diet medications are designed to prevent the body from absorbing fat. This prevention also hinders the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. These vitamins are essential for childhood and adolescent growth and development.
- No studies have been done to determine the long-term use of these drugs in children, and until further research is available, these medications are simply not recommended for kids.
Are Diet Pills for Children Safe When They’re Bought Over the Counter?
What about non-prescription diet pills? While there are a variety of weight loss pills that are sold over the counter, many of these products are ineffective and can also be quite dangerous, even those that claim to be “all natural”. Just because a product is labeled as being “natural” or a “dietary supplement”, doesn’t mean that it is safe. Many of these pills carry side effects and not all of these natural remedies have been approved by the FDA.
The most reputable and highest quality diet pills that you can purchase over the counter will only be made for adults who are 18 years of age and older. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will even come across diet pills for children in the first place, even in the over-the-counter marketplace.
If you do ever come across diet pills for children that you can buy over the counter, be sure to read their descriptions carefully, do plenty of research into the products and their manufacturers, read customer reviews about the products, and consult your physician before deciding whether or not a pill is right for your son or daughter.
There Are Better Ways to Help Your Child Lose Weight
According to WebMD, diet pills for children are not recommended, but there are some other ways to help your child lose weight if your doctor has diagnosed your son or daughter as overweight or obese:
- First off, it isn’t the best idea to put your kid on a diet, unless your doctor advises you to do so. Cutting calories might not be safe because your child is still growing. Also, a restrictive diet might cause your child to develop an unhealthy relationship with food by causing him or her to view certain foods as bad. Instead, aim to feed your children a variety of natural foods, from whole grains to vegetables, for energy and nutrition without excess fat and calories.
- Speaking of healthy eating, experts recommend that kids eat anywhere from one to three cups of veggies, along with one to two cups of fruit, daily. You might find it easier to ensure your child gets these servings by preparing a yummy smoothie, and by adding fruits and veggies as toppings on their daily meals (for example, fruit on top of cereal or oatmeal). Experts even recommend using vegetables instead of meat in dishes like spaghetti, chili, and lasagna. And, don’t forget to watch what your child drinks. Swap sugary juices and sodas with pure water, nut milk, or unsweetened decaf tea.
- Make sure the whole family follows the same nutritious and lean eating habits. Having meals together can also be really helpful when it comes to instilling healthy eating habits that your child will continue following into adulthood.
As you can see, to help your child lose weight, the best thing you can do for them is assist them in changing their lifestyle by providing them with a well-balanced and healthy diet, and making sure they are receiving adequate daily exercise. If you think your child needs help beyond natural weight loss methods, consult their doctor.