FDA blames Japanese anime for Thai teens’ obsession with body image

“Lum Invader” the female protagonist from Rumiko Takahashi’s manga and anime series Urusei Yatsura

Female teens around the world suffer from body image insecurity and eating disorders, but the motives might have some regional differences.

So why do Thai girls feel insecure about their bodies and adopt insane methods to lose weight?

A top public health official has identified a foreign social evil that’s responsible for robbing Thai teens of their confidence: Japanese anime.

Thai teenagers are obsessed with the unrealistic skinny bodies they see in Japanese anime, so they use dangerous diet pills and get addicted to coffee and tea, according to Prapon Angtrakul, deputy secretary general of the Food and Drugs Administration.

The FDA seems to think Thai teens look to Sailor Moon and Chobits for role models, despite the abundance of silicon-stuffed actresses and stick-figure fashion models in local media.

Once again, the message is admirable even if the argument seems unsound: Diet pills are often sold without FDA approval and contain illegal drugs with life-threatening side effects such as fenfluramine, dexfenfluramine, sibutramine.

These drugs have been illegally imported to Thailand and can cause strokes if overdose, Prapon added.

“Don’t trust the products that claim to help you lose weight and be aware that they might contain dangerous chemicals,” he said. “Remember that they are not food if they are padded with unrealistic claims, which is actually illegal.”

Many of the girls who turn to these pills don’t have a problem with obesity.

“Most people who use diet pills are not actually overweight and have a healthy body mass index,” Prapon added, “They just want to be skinny because of peer pressure, and these drugs cause them insomnia, nausea, stress and so on.”

Prapon also suggested teens should lose weight the healthy way by watching their calories and exercise, and if your BMI is normal, there’s nothing to worry about, Thairath reported.

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