Five percent, or one in 20 teenagers, use steroids for increased muscle growth, according to a new study. Coinciding with this, over one-third of boys and one-fifth of girls admitted to using a protein shake or powder to add muscle mass to their frames. Also, between five and ten percent of teens use non-steroid substances to bulk up.
The study, which was published in Pediatrics, involved close to 2,800 middle and high school students from Minnesota. A majority of the students in the study were involved in some sort muscle-building activity within the past year. The researchers said that one-third of the group used unhealthy ways to increase muscle mass including: steroid use, excessive protein shakes and over exertion from weight-lifting.
Interestingly, the study showed that there was an equal number of students that used steroids who were athletes and those who were not. According to Dr. Linn Goldberg of the Oregon Health & Science University, the pressure to start using steroids begins in high school. “You get the influence of older teens in high school, so when you’re a 14-year-old that comes in, you have 17-year-olds who are the senior, and they can have a great influence as you progress into the next state of your athletic career.”
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