Public awareness of the abuse of herbs and drugs to decrease body weight: A novel national survey in Jordan

Document Type





The aim of this investigation was to measure the degree of public preferences regarding the various weight-loss practices and to assess the level of awareness regarding the risks and health hazards associated with the application of unhealthful measures to lose weight.


Approximately 30,000 individuals selected from various regions in Jordan filled in a self−reported questionnaire. Participants were interviewed by well–trained senior pharmacy students and were asked to report their response to various aspects regarding body weight-loss practices.


Of the respondents, 74.55% agreed that dietary restriction is the major intervention to lose weight. A modest majority of respondents (39.09%) believed that nervousness and irritability are serious drawbacks for uncontrolled administration of the hormone thyroxine. The highest percentage of responding females (67.12%) reported diarrhea as a major adverse effect to laxative abuse.


The availability and the number of adverse events associated with herbal and dietary supplements to lose weight are on the rise. Obese patients should consider realistic expectations and be encouraged to follow healthy lifestyle interventions. Health care professionals are best suited to educate obese patients about unhealthy practices like laxative and diuretic abuse.




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Citation/Publisher Attribution

Al-Safi, S.A., Ayoub, N.M., Ayoub, A.M. et al. Public awareness of the abuse of herbs and drugs to decrease body weight: a novel national survey in Jordan. J Public Health 16, 205–213 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-007-0166-5