In recent studies conducted by Doctors Ruth Milanaik and Andrew Adesman of Cohen Children’s Medical Center found in New York, it has been discovered that over the counter (OTC) dietary supplements are being sold to children and teens, despite warnings that they are not safe.
Products labeled as for adult use only have been recommended and even endorsed by staff of health food stores to teens, being aware that these dietary supplements can often prove dangerous if used against the warning labels.
The FDA has not so far regulated supplements as such and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has repeatedly signaled that those less than 18 years of age are exposed to serious documented health hazards if they use body-shaping supplements. Against better judgment, purchasing these products by minors is legal in 49 states.
The issue is sparked by teens who are insecure of their bodies in an environment that puts sufficient pressure on a young person to look in a certain way. They search for body-building, fat-burning, enhancing supplements that are viewed as the quick way to a better, improved self-image.
The reality proves differently. These products are a quick way to a number of health hazards that could be avoided if the purchasing of supplements would be illegal for those underage.
At the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, Milanaik and Adesman presented the results of the study they conducted. 244 health food stores in the 49 states were selling OTC supplements to minors is legal were sampled by 15 year old boys and girls. The boys were looking for testosterone boosters (TesB) while girls were looking for fat-burning dietary supplements. 41 percent of sales representatives told the 15 year olds that they could buy the products on their own.
TesB usage by minors is known to affect bone growth and cause the body to halt his natural production of testosterone. If not suffering from a diagnosed medical condition, the usage of TesB is highly not recommended. Yet many young males under the age of 18, athletes or non-athletes fall for the advertisement that it can improve endurance training and strength.
And this is where the staff of health food stores could intervene, alongside the pediatricians who have teens in their care. Employees that are labeled as trained experts should act as such and correctly inform their underage customers of the real and serious health hazard they are exposing themselves to, rather than working for the company’s financial gain.
Pediatricians, along with parents should ensure the minors stay informed, healthy and develop in a supportive, and if need be, medically-approved environment.
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