Use of diet pills and other dieting aids in a college population with high weight and shape concerns


  • Portions of the current article were presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Eating Disorders, Orlando, Florida, April 29–May 2, 2004.



The current study examines diet aid use among college women at risk for eating disorders and explores characteristics associated with diet aid use.


Participants were 484 college women <30 years from 6 universities in the San Francisco Bay Area (SF) and San Diego who were at risk for developing eating disorders. A checklist assessed diet pill, fat blocker, diuretic, laxative, and other diet aid use over the past 12 months.


Thirty-two percent of the college women reported using a diet aid. Diet aid use was double the rate in San Diego (44%) compared with SF (22%) (p = .000). Weight and shape concerns were higher among diet aid users than among nonusers across sites.


A significant number of college women at risk for eating disorders are using diet aids. We recommend that clinicians inquire about diet aid use among college-aged patients. © 2006 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2006)