Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Medical Reports: Dying to Diet
The warnings are not working -- kids as young as nine years old are taking diet pills and going on crash diets. And it can have devastating effects on their young, developing bodies. As 7's Diana Diaz shows us in this special report, teenagers are dying to diet.
WSVN -- Thin.
Shayna Lacy: "When I got to 100 pounds, I wanted to be 95, when I got 95, I wanted to be 90."
Camila Roger: "Dieting was my life."
Teenagers are bombarded with images of super-thin celebs like Nicole Ritchie, Kate Bosworth and Keira Knightley.
They've become role models to young girls like Camila Roger who was dying to be thin at only 13.
Camila Roger: "The South Beach Diet, Weight Watchers, I did diet pills."
A newly released study shows that diet pill use by teenage girls has doubled over the last five years.
Diet pills are so risky for teens because they include ingredients like caffeine. It interferes with the body's absorption of calcium, which teens need to develop.
Plus, it's a stimulant.
Dr. Siqueira: "You can get high blood pressure, you can get an increase in your heart rate."
Shayna Lacy started worrying about her weight in sixth grade.
She wanted to look like all the other girls in her dance class, but she thought food stood in her way.
Shayna Lacy: "Food was evil. It caused weight gain."
She'd skip breakfast, then lunch, and, while the pounds kept dropping, so did her health.
Shayna Lacy: "I've sprained my left ankle 16 times. My right ankle 18 times because I didn't have enough nutrients in my body, not enough calcium. I couldn't heal."
But how do you know if your child has a problem?
Doctors say it starts here, at the dinner table.
Dr. Lorena Siqueira: "A lot of kids who are trying to diet will say they are eating at someone else's house, and they're not eating at all."
Other signs to watch for: Extreme mood swings, fatigue and complaints of being cold all the time.
And parents -- listen to how your teenager talks about food.
Lucille Beseler: "Verbal cues for parents, 'I hate pizza' and 'I hate French fries,' when you know they loved French fries the week before."
Pay attention to what they wear -- many teens try to cover up their weight loss.
Shayna Lacy: "I wore humongous, humongous clothes."
But nothing can hide the damage dieting, or not eating, can do to a developing body.
Shayna Lacy: "I've been told that it is unlikely that I can have kids. It's because of what I did to myself, and I kick myself for it every day."
So many regrets at such a young age.
Doctors warn that taking pills can help you eat less and lose weight at first, but, once your body gets used to them, they stop working.
Plus, if you stop taking them, you'll just gain all the weight back, maybe more.