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Use of child obesity drug 'soaring'

3rd September 2009

A study of data from family doctors has revealed that the number of under-18s in the UK being prescribed weight-loss drugs rose 15-fold between 1999 and 2006.


Analysis conducted by University College London, using the General Practice Research database, suggests around 1300 children a year are on such treatments, compared to 1m adults.

However, the drugs are only licensed for adult use, meaning GPs that are prescribing weight-loss drugs to under-18s are doing so on an unlicensed basis.

Writing in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, researchers found that the number of young people being prescribed one of three weight-loss drugs had risen from 0.006 per 1,000 to 0.091 per 1,000 from 1999 to 2006, though it also emerged that many stopped taking them before they had any benefit.

Study author Russell Viner said: "It's possible that the drugs are being given inappropriately, or that they have excessive side-effects that make young people discontinue their use.

"On the other hand, they could be expecting the drugs to deliver a miracle 'quick fix' and stop using them when sudden, rapid weight-loss does not occur."

Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum said the use of such drugs was a “a real indictment on society.”

"It seems to me that we are ignoring measures to prevent our children becoming obese and then turning to drugs as a treatment of choice when they should be a last resort,” he said.

He added that more open spaces for children to play in were needed along with tougher regulation of the food industry.


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chris jackson

Thursday 3rd September 2009 @ 15:29

My name is chris i am a fitness instructor and adviser, the government should ensure there is certain nutrition caps on produced foods, along with offering families with obese children guidance such as good living workshops for the parents, along with exercise activity events in local areas for the kids to teach them how to exercise properly, also to educate them with the benefits exercise offers to their bodies and lifestyle. All the money the government has at its disposal to tackle this growing problem, could be put to good use in these areas, however i predict it will be wasted on the easy least affective option as usual, i.e. medication that is not needed and should not be encouraged.

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Article Information

Title: Use of child obesity drug 'soaring'
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 12543
Date Added: 3rd Sep 2009


BBC News

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