Budget Ozempic: Talk to Your Teens About This Dangerous Trend

TikTok trends, like dancing, can be lots of fun. But others are downright dangerous. Something called “Budget Ozempic” is one of them. And teen girls are the most susceptible. These so-called remedies may include supplements like Berberine, a chemical found in plants like goldenseal, European barberry, and tree turmeric, to name a few. Since it is sometimes used by folks who want to regulate their blood sugar and high cholesterol, it has gotten the nickname of a natural Ozempic. But what teens seem to be doing more of is using over-the-counter laxatives, diuretics, and diet pills as their budget weight loss solution. A study published this week in the JAMA Network says 1 in 10 adolescents have used a nonprescription weight loss product in their lifetime.
This study looked at the habits of those 18 and younger. It analyzed 90 studies involving more than 600,000 participants. Regarding girls, 1 in 10 didn’t just use a nonprescription weight loss remedy in their lifetime; they’ve used them in the past year.
Why is this dangerous? Here’s the issue: use of diet pills and other weight loss medicines can result in other health issues. Experts warn that in the long term, unhealthy weight control behaviors, including weight loss products without a doctor’s prescription, can contribute to increased body weight. Using these products can also put youth at risk for developing eating disorders within just a few years. According to StatNews, studies have also found that the use of the products is associated with low self-esteem, depression, and substance use. And young people have died from using these solutions.
“The incidence of eating disorders has increased pretty dramatically after the pandemic. We’ve seen the numbers skyrocket,” Dr. Paula Cody, medical director of adolescent medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, told CNN. “So I think that the concern I had before was not a small matter then — I’m even more concerned now.”
According to an article written on the subject. You are probably thinking eating disorders are not an issue in our community, but we are not immune. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), eating disorders “affect people from all demographics of all ethnicities at similar rates. People of color — especially African Americans — are significantly less likely to receive help for their eating issues.”
Rachel Goode, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina Nutrition Research Institute and an adjunct assistant professor in the Center for Eating Disorder Excellence, says looking at eating disorders in our community is complex. And what you should know is that eating disorders from our community are often associated with the strong Black women syndrome.
The good news is that states are making moves to regulate the sale of the supplements. New York, for example, New York State has banned over-the-counter diet pills. Lawmakers have also introduced legislation to regulate them in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, and New Jersey.
What do you need to do? Find out if your teens, especially your daughters, know  about “budget Ozempic.” Share the dangers. If you suspect they have body image issues, check out resources like About Face and The National Alliance for Eating Disorders.


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