The potential lifelong consequences that weight-loss drugs could have on adolescents and children have a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, exercise and behavioral scientists, pharmacists, and ethics researchers at the University of California–Irvine (UCI) sounding alarms.

The team’s pre-proof paper (pdf), published by the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, suggests that swapping traditional methods like diet and exercise to tackle childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes for GLP-1RA medications like Wegovy and Ozempic will likely lead to a host of unintended physical and emotional problems.

“Unlike in adults, children and adolescents need energy and sufficient calories not only for physical activity, but for growth and development,” Dr. Dan M. Cooper, associate director of the UCI Institute of Clinical and Translational Science and interim executive director of the UCI Institute for Precision Health, said in a news release.

While health experts applaud drug benefits like hunger suppression, low appetite, and slow gastric emptying in overweight, obese, or Type 2 diabetic adults, the paper’s authors argue these same benefits could backfire in younger groups.

Not getting enough calories can lead to nutritional deficiencies and put kids at risk of poor brain development, reduced learning ability, low immunity, increased infections, and—in some cases—death. Regular physical activity is necessary to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, build strong bones and muscles, control weight, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and slash the risk of developing health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.