A study looking into the eating habits of teenage girls suggests that the use of diet pills in young women is climbing at alarming rates. Research conducted by the University of Minnesota’s "Project EAT" (Eating Among Teens) showed that 62.7% of female teenagers use moderately unhealthy weight management methods, while 27.9% use very unhealthy weight management methods. These methods include the abuse of diet pills, skipping meals, vomiting and laxatives. Teenage girls who use diet pills and succumb to eating disorders have a much higher chance of developing serious health conditions in the future, such as osteoporosis.

Efforts are now being made to understand why teenaged girls are turning to drastic weight loss methods to lose weight. Exploring the physical fitness and eating patterns among teenage girls has shown that more and more girls are obsessive about their weight. During the teenage years, physical activity considerably reduces, especially with girls. This inevitably leads to weight gain and girls look for the quickest means to lose weight. Many teenage girls have resorted to some drastic measures to attain the waif-like figures of supermodels and celebrities in the media. Some of these girls start using diet pills as early as the age of 13.

Many diet pills are sold over the counter and serve to fuel this unhealthy trend. Some of these diet pills are very effective at suppressing appetite and are able to diminish the desire to eat. Such pills have been branded unsafe for use by teenagers because they encourage the development of unhealthy eating patterns, and in some cases eating disorders such as anorexia.

Diet pills that contain stimulants raise the body’s temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. Examples of diet pills that contain stimulants are Xenadrine and Hydroxycut as well as other products that contain ephedra, green tea extract, bitter orange extract and caffeine. Of all these products, ephedra diet pills pose the greatest risks for teenagers. In some extreme cases of abuse and misuse of these diet pills, teenagers have been found to develop high blood pressure, heart valve damage, heart attack, stroke and other life threatening conditions before the age of 20. In some cases, teenagers have died from the use of ephedra and ephedrine products.

As a parent or concerned friend, you may be looking for the warning signs that a teenager is using diet pills unsupervised. Unfortunately, the use of diet pills by teenagers can go undetected; however there are a few signs of unhealthy eating and poor body image that should always be addressed when displayed. For example, constant complaining about weight and body fat, skipping meals and an obsession with being thin are all indicators that the teenager may be developing an eating disorder or is struggling with very poor body image. In the cases where diet pills are being abused or misused for rapid weight loss, a teenager may experience drastic weight fluctuations, mood swings, hair loss, bad breath, dizzy spells and increased blood pressure.

With studies indicating startling numbers of teenagers using diet pills, parents need to take a more active role in making their children feel good about themselves and teaching them healthier methods of weight control. Teenagers who have a positive attitude regarding their bodies have less chances of being overweight, both as children and as adults.

Author's Bio: 

Jen Page is a contributing author to Weight-Loss-Center.net, an authority website offering information about Weight Loss, Dieting, and Health.