96-S 2200A

Passed in Senate

Mar. 6, 1996.


WHEREAS, It is the height of irresponsibility for any retailer to display diet pills and diet products where naive, weight-conscious teenagers, induced by media images of the "perfect body" as the passport to popularity and happiness, may be tempted to abuse these products in ways which can seriously jeopardize their health; and

WHEREAS, Each year millions of people in the United States develop serious and sometimes life-threatening eating disorders. The vast majority -- more than 90 percent of those afflicted are adolescent and young adult women. Striving to attain the "ideal figure", people in this age group are particularly vulnerable to the promises of diet aid products. Researchers have found that unwise stringent diets without prior medical supervision can play a key role in triggering devastating eating disorders; and

WHEREAS, Approximately 1 percent of adolescent girls develop anorexia nervosa, a dangerous condition in which they can literally starve themselves to death. Another 2 to 3 percent of young women develop bulimia nervosa, a destructive pattern of extreme overeating followed by vomiting or other "purging" behaviors to control weight. Eating disorders can lead to severe consequences, including damage to such vital organs as the heart and brain. One in 10 cases lead to death from starvation, cardiac arrest, or suicide; and

WHEREAS, The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa estimates that there are at least 500,000 victims of anorexia nervosa in the United States. While most anorexics begin with modest weight loss goals, once started down this dangerous path they lose control and either stop eating altogether or attempt to subsist on a few hundred calories per day. Some take laxatives or diuretics, while others -- perhaps as may as 50 percent -- become bulimic; and

WHEREAS, It is an obvious civic obligation for all retailers of such products to help discourage our children from falling into the traps posed by such terrible eating disorders as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa by placing easily abused products such as diet pills and laxatives far away from where school supplies are offered for sale. Our impressionable children need to be shielded from such temptations, not exposed to them; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That this Senate of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby calls upon all retailers of such products to act in a responsible manner, accepting their moral responsibility to the community, by not displaying diet pills, other diet products, and laxatives in areas that are in close proximity to where school products are offered for sale; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the R.I. Pharmaceutical Association and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.

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