Weight Loss in America Essay

Submitted By scrogginsshannon
Words: 1202
Pages: 5

With the number of weight loss supplements on the market today, it seems just as difficult to choose a plan as it is to lose the weight. With hundreds of different diet pills available, why are so many Americans still overweight? While diet pills may seem like a fast and easy way to lose weight, exercise will yield more results without all of the dangerous side-effects. In today's society, it is popular to be slim and trim. The media shoves the idea of the "perfect figure" down our throats each time we look at a magazine cover or turn on the television. Most people think they have to be slim in order to be sexy. In turn, weight management programs are booming even when our economy is not. The two most popular weight loss methods are diet pills and exercise. Most people are looking for a fast and easy way to lose weight. The idea of only taking a pill each morning with no work required is very appealing. What they forget to mention or save for the small print are the side-effects. Diet drugs are available in several different forms, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements. Prescription drugs such as Meridia and Xenical are only available with a doctor's prescription. These drugs are carefully regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, and their use is closely monitored by the prescribing doctor. In the mid-'90s, the diet pill industry was booming. In 1996, more than 18 million dieters in the United States were taking a cocktail of the appetite suppressants fenfluramine (or dexfenfluramine) and phentermine, nicknamed fen-phen -- many with great success. But suddenly, doctors around the country were seeing previously healthy patients who were taking fen-phen developing a potentially fatal heart disease. In September 1997, the FDA announced that it was withdrawing the "fen" drugs from the market because of their link to heart problems. Phentermine is still available on its own. Watson, Stephanie. "Diet Pills: What You Need to Know" (13 January 2005.)
Over-the-Counter drugs are available without a doctor's prescription, right in your local drugstore or supermarket, and are also regulated by the FDA. According to AnneCollins.com, "Products considered by FDA to be over-the-counter weight control drugs [as opposed to dietary supplements] are primarily those containing the active ingredient phenylpropanolamine (PPA)." Since late 2003, when the FDA banned the sale of ephedra-containing drugs due to evidence of increased risk of heart attack, these formulations have replaced ephedra with a mixture of vitamins (such as thiami an ephedra-like substance called synephrine that is found in certain citrus fruits, and caffeine. The combination reportedly increases energy while boosting metabolism. Watson, Stephanie. "Diet Pills: What You Need to Know" (13 January 2005.)
Herbal diet supplements are also available without a prescription. You'll typically find a huge variety of these in health food and nutrition stores as well as in regular supermarkets. Herbal supplements are often labeled "all natural" and are considered by the FDA to be food products as opposed to drugs. There are many herbal weight-loss supplements on the market today, and they utilize different mechanisms to reportedly aid in dieting. Watson, Stephanie. "Diet Pills: What You Need to Know" (13 January 2005.)

Exercise can be expensive if you fall into the trap of gym memberships, popular exercise videos, and in-home gym equipment for sale on the QVC channel. What people do not realize is that most exercise can be done using items you already have around your home. Jogging around the home picking up things off the floor, or doing sit-ups using the sofa to hold your feet, and using book-bags as dumbbells. While Nutri-System uses their spokesperson Marie Osmond, "Get the body you've always wanted for less than $12 a day." Jenny Craig has spokesperson Kirstie Alley, "Jenny Craig…