Tapeworms Are Dangerous for Weight Loss

: GREAT NECK, NY – A New York registered dietitian says people should not consider using tapeworms to lose weight in light of reports that a Florida mom gave some to her teenage, pageant-participating daughter. “Any time you introduce a parasite into a living host, especially into a young child, that is very bad for many reasons,” says Nancy Copperman, RD, director of public health initiatives at the North Shore-LIJ Health System. “One is it can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea; it can cause somewhat of a long-term problem because you don’t know if you’ve gotten rid of all of the parasites that are there.” Infections are also a potential side effect of having a tapeworm, Ms. Copperman says. Parents of young children should be mindful that their child is continuing to grow and some weight gain may not mean the child needs to go on a diet; it could just be a growth spurt.

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