An average of more than 250,000 children compete in more than 5,000 pageants each year. In the United States there are currently a handful of participants who are diagnosed to health issues. According to Christa Brown from Massachusetts, through her high school and college years, Christa would always participate in beauty pageants. She believed it was a way for girls to gain confidence and it was her self motivation, “I always felt more confident, because it felt like I was being celebrated for being myself.” However, along the way she began to see what beauty pageants really were, which she also recalls it as the ‘harmful truth’, “One contestant was taking laxatives and water pills, and some contestants weren't eating at all.”
Participants would go beyond the extremes to prove their capabilities of what it means to be ‘beautiful’, allowing them to put their own health at risk. But what had struck Christa the most was the fact that the judges were okay with these actions.
In addition to health issues, parents are going over the extremes to make sure there children are alert during the competitions. Alana Thompson, a six-year old drinks a special juice before she steps on stage. Her mother,June Shannon, Shannon makes Alana's "Go-Go Juice" herself using a combination of part Mountain Dew and part Red Bull, two well-known energy drinks.” According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, too much caffeine for a young child can lead to neurological and cardiovascular problems. Doctors also say that too much caffeine and sugar can to lead to a risk of physical dependence and addiction.