Study: too many kids are pumping up with steroids

20 Nov

Moi wrote in In Children, body image, bullying, and eating disorders, moi said:

The media presents an unrealistic image of perfection for women and girls. What they don’t disclose is for many of the “super” models their only job and requirement is the maintenance of their appearance. Their income depends on looks and what they are not able to enhance with plastic surgery and personal trainers, then that cellulite can be photoshopped or airbrushed away. That is the reality. Kid’s Health has some good information about Body Image

In an attempt to have a buff body many teens are using steroids.

Brian Toporek writes in the Education Week article, Study: Muscle-Enhancing Behaviors Increasingly Common Among Teens:

Both teenage boys and girls are engaging in muscle-enhancing behaviors far more than previously known, according to a study published online today in the journal Pediatrics.

As large, lean, muscular male body images have risen in popularity in Western culture, so too has teenage boys’ dissatisfaction with their own bodies, the study suggests. Some boys thus decide to engage in muscle-enhancing behaviors to shape their bodies like the ones being presented to them in the media.

For this study, three researchers from the University of Minnesota and Columbia University examined data from 2,793 youths (with a mean age of 14.4) at 20 urban middle and high schools taken during the 2009-10 school year. The researchers set out to determine the prevalence of five specific muscle-enhancing behaviors: changing eating habits to increase muscle size, increasing exercise, the use of protein powder, the use of steroids, and the use of other muscle-enhancing substances.

Nearly 70 percent of the boys in the study (897 of 1,307 total) reported having changed their eating habits in order to increase their muscle size or tone within the past 12 months, and more than 90 percent of boys increased their amount of exercise to achieve the same goal.

More than 40 percent of boys reported that they often exercised more to boost their muscle mass or tone, while 39.1 percent sometimes did, and 11.3 rarely did. Only 8.8 percent of boys never did, according to the study.

While changing eating habits and exercising more could each be considered healthy habits, many boys engaged in unhealthy behaviors, too. More than one-third of the boys in the study reported using protein powders or shakes, 5.9 percent reported using steroids, and 10.5 percent reported using some other muscle-enhancing substance.

On the female side, more than 60 percent of girls reported changing their eating habits to increase muscle size or tone, and more than 80 percent of girls exercised more for the same reason. More than 20 percent of girls reported using protein powders or shakes, 4.6 percent reported using steroids, and 5.5 percent reported using other muscle-enhancing substances…

The researchers suggest that pediatricians should ask their adolescent patients about muscle-enhancing behaviors, and say sports physicals could present a perfect opportunity to do so.

Generva Pittman of Reuters writes about steroids in the article, One in 20 youth has used steroids to bulk up: study:

Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of testosterone, the male sex hormone. Steroids are prescribed legally to treat conditions involving hormone deficiency or muscle loss, but when they’re used for non-medical purposes, it’s typically at much higher doses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

In those cases, steroids can cause mood swings – sometimes known as roid rage – and for adolescents, stunted growth and accelerated puberty.

Anabolic steroids have become pervasive in professional sports, including baseball, football and boxing. (Another example of performance-enhancing drug use is “blood doping” with erythropoietin or EPO, which is behind the Lance Armstrong cycling controversy that caused him to be stripped of his Tour de France titles last month.)

Experts have worried that the drive to get ahead of competitors at any cost could trickle down to college and high school athletes, as well.

Goldberg, co-developer of the ATLAS and ATHENA programs to prevent steroid and other substance use on high school teams, said it’s important to give teens healthier alternatives to build muscle.


Muscle-enhancing Behaviors Among Adolescent Girls and Boys

  1. Marla E. Eisenberg, ScD, MPHa,b,
  2. Melanie Wall, PhDc, and
  3. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, MPH, RDb

+ Author Affiliations

  1. aDivision of Adolescent Health and Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, and
  2. bDivision of Epidemiology & Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and
  3. cDepartments of Biostatistics and Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, New York

OBJECTIVE: Media images of men and women have become increasingly muscular, and muscle-enhancing techniques are available to youth. Identifying populations at risk for unhealthy muscle-enhancingbehaviors is of considerable public health importance. The current study uses a large and diverse population-based sample of adolescents to examine the prevalence of muscle-enhancing behaviors and differences across demographic characteristics, weight status, and sports team involvement.

METHODS: Survey data from 2793 diverse adolescents (mean age = 14.4) were collected at 20 urban middle and high schools. Use of 5 muscle-enhancing behaviors was assessed (changing eating, exercising, protein powders, steroids and other muscle-enhancing substances), and a summary score reflecting use of 3 or more behaviors was created. Logistic regression was used to test for differences in each behavior across age group, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, BMI category, and sports team participation.

RESULTS: Muscle-enhancing behaviors were common in this sample for both boys and girls. For example, 34.7% used protein powders or shakes and 5.9% reported steroid use. Most behaviors were significantly more common among boys. In models mutually adjusted for all covariates, grade level, Asian race, BMI category, and sports team participation were significantly associated with the use of muscle-enhancing behaviors. For example, overweight (odds ratio = 1.45) and obese (odds ratio = 1.90) girls had significantly greater odds of using protein powders or shakes than girls of average BMI.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of muscle-enhancing behaviors is substantially higher than has been previously reported and is cause for concern. Pediatricians and other health care providers should ask their adolescent patients about muscle-enhancing behaviors.

Parents have more influence on their children’s values and beliefs than most are willing to exercise. You need to support your children’s dreams, not yours.

Because people have free will, even the best parents will have children who make mistakes. Some so identified “progressives” will attribute this lapse not to individual free will, but the fact that the message of morality is a failure. It is not. People learn lessons at different speeds, some sooner, some later. Remember the lesson of the Prodigal Son


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