Have you heard of “Slimming Tea” or “Appetite Suppressing Lollipops”? These are new weight-loss measures adults are taking, which are laxatives being promoted by such celebrities like the Kardashians, and popular Instagram influencers. The problem is that young teens are being influenced to lose weight, and it is triggering many whom are currently facing body image issues. These laxative teas and lollipops, can cause serious harm to the bodies of young teens. According to ABC News, the harm that can be caused to the human body are:
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
- Cramps, bloating and gas
- Nausea and diarrhea
- Potassium depletion and other electrolyte abnormalities
- Abnormal heart rhythm
What many doctors are concerned with are the mental health implications that can take its toll on young teens. Dr. Farrell, from Eating Disorders Association of NZ, has stated that a major concern was that young dieters with “an unknown predisposition for anorexia will be drawn to such products–Anorexia is a very serious illness and has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. There are inherent dangers in using any form of laxative product for weight control and we would strongly advise
By teens viewing the promotion of their favorite celebrities or Instagram influencers using these “slimming teas” and lollipops, it can have an impact on their young minds and give them an unhealthy obsession with food and body image.
Recently actress Jameela Jamil, from the popular show The Good Place, has spoken out about this detox phenomenon, the celebrities peddling the tea, and the physical and mental impacts it has on young teens. Jamil has also opened up about her own struggles with body image as a young teen and a woman. She stated “I was the teenager who starved herself for years, who spent all her money on these miracle cures and laxatives and tips from celebrities on how to maintain a weight that was lower than what my body wanted it to be.” “I was sick, I have had digestion and metabolism problems for life.”
Even more alarming, Urban Outfitters, a teen marketed clothing company is now promoting, “Flat Tummy Tea” on their Instagram. This has raised backlash on social media as many have said to boycott Urban Outfitters for the promotion of diuretics and unhealthy body image to their teen consumer base.
What Can You do as a Parent to Talk to your Teen about Body Image and this Craze?
Monitor your teens screen time – The thin body images that teens consistently see through social media tend to make a negative impact on what they believe they should look like. A study conducted by Children’s Hospital Boston, showed teens who try to look like these celebrities or models were more likely to use these potentially harmful substances like weight loss drinks.
Talk to your teen about the unrealistic body images found on social media – Sometimes a little talk with your teen can go long way. Explain to your teen how pictures are normally photoshopped and doctored to create this unrealistic body image.
Set an example – Children may not always listen to you, but they are watching you. Try to not complain about your own body in front of them. When looking in the mirror do not point out your own insecurities, what you hate about yourself or complain about yourself. Not only are you doing this for them, but you are also helping yourself accept yourself for the amazing and strong body that you have!
Compliment your teen on who they are and their qualities over their looks– Many teens, especially young girls, want to look a certain way and hold beauty to be of the highest standard. Teach your child that they are smart, brave, funny, and that they have so many more attributes
rather than just beauty.
Create a healthy lifestyle for the whole family – If you are in an area with nice weather, make after dinner time walks around the block a thing with the family! This can help with communication within your family as well and being a bit active. Also create healthy choices around the kitchen, opposed to buying that bag of chips at the grocery store, buy a bag of apples or a fruit. If the healthy options opposed to the unhealthy options are in the house, it becomes easier to form healthy eating habits.
With lots of love,
Harvey, S. (2013, November 17). Weight loss tea health risk to teens. In Stuff. Retrieved from http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/9409874/Weight-loss-tea-health-risk-to-teens
Sass, C. (2015, June 26). 5 Things You Should Know About Detox Teas. In ABC News. Retrieved from https://abcnews.go.com/Health/things-detox-teas/story?id=32035701
Wynne, K. (2018, November 27). JAMEELA JAMIL SLAMS CARDI B AFTER DETOX TEA RESPONSE: ‘SHE PROBABLY DOESN’T EVER TAKE THE PRODUCTS’. In News Week. Retrieved from https://www.newsweek.com/jameela-jamil-slams-cardi-b-after-detox-tea-response-she-probably-doesnt-ever-1233277
Young, S. (2019, January 14). JAMEELA JAMIL CRITICISES URBAN OUTFITTERS FOR PROMOTING LAXATIVE ‘DETOX TEA’. In Independent. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/jameela-jamil-urban-outfitters-detox-tea-flat-tummy-twitter-health-a8726676.html