BOSTON — A group of advocates and public health researchers went door to door at the state House Tuesday to educate legislators about a bill they hope to pass that would require an ID to purchase supplements that claim to build muscle or lose weight. Taking unregulated and potentially dangerous drugs out of kid’s hands. 

What You Need To Know

  • Right now there aren't any regulations around supplements that claim to build muscle or lose weight. This group says young people are using over the counter supplements, fueling eating disorders. 

  • STRIPTED says by banning children from accessing these kinds of supplements, it could prevent further issues with eating disorders. 

  • Eating disorder treatment costs the state $1.4 million a year, this program would cost less than $50,000 one time. 

  • The bills are currently sitting in the House Ways and Means Committee. They are hoping that education at the end of the session could help cross the finish line before the session ends July 31.

“I wish that there are people like me when I was, you know, a 20-something that would stand up for me,” said Emily Newton-Hoe. “I wish someone had spoken up for me and said something. So hopefully I can help do that today.”

Newton-Hoe was an athlete at Clark University when she developed an eating disorder. Today, after seven years of recovery, she is a public health PhD candidate at Harvard. By telling her story to legislators in the state House, she hopes to help the next generation of athletes and kids trying anything to look like what they see online.   

“There's much more awareness of the role of social media and the harms that it has specifically on youth who, you know, are at home on TikTok, on Instagram, and are being bombarded with ads about diet culture,” said Newton-Hoe. 

According to STRIPED, the strategic training initiative for the prevention of eating disorders, more than 600,000 Massachusetts residents will suffer an eating disorder in their lifetime, costing the state $1.4 billion every year. 

Advocates say this bill would cost under $50,000 one time, and then could potentially save billions in health care costs. New York recently passed similar legislation.

Rep. Kay Khan (D- 11th Middlesex) has been working on this for almost 10 years and is retiring this year. She wants to see this passed. 

“This is one of my top priorities. I've been working on issues such as eating disorders for a very long time and this bill has been around now since 2015,” said Khan. “And I think it's time.”

Bills from the House and Senate right now are sitting in the House Ways and Means Committee. Khan is open to any sort of negotiating to get it passed on its own or through a package deal. 

But time is running out this session as it ends at the end of the month.