A study published last week in the journal "Pediatrics" concluded that:
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.
Many news sources have covered the results of the report.
From the New York Times:
Pediatricians are starting to sound alarm bells about boys who take unhealthy measures to try to achieve Charles Atlas bodies that only genetics can truly confer. Whether it is long hours in the gym, allowances blown on expensive supplements or even risky experiments with illegal steroids, the price American boys are willing to pay for the perfect body appears to be on the rise.
In a study to be published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics, more than 40 percent of boys in middle school and high school said they regularly exercised with the goal of increasing muscle mass. Thirty-eight percent said they used protein supplements, and nearly 6 percent said they had experimented with steroids.
Over all, 90 percent of the 1,307 boys in the survey — who lived in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, but typify what doctors say is a national phenomenon — said they exercised at least occasionally to add muscle.
From Jim Ferstle and the blog "Down the Backstretch:"
While the rate of steroid use was higher among athletes, it was not limited to them. These conclusions are not unique, nor startling. They've been reported before in lower numbers, and have the limitation of being from one area of the country and a self reporting survey that relies on the truthfulness and accuracy of the information provided by the subjects, but one would have to have the proverbial "head in the sand" not to understand that athletics and society in general has a drug/"enhancing substances" problem.
The major unanswered question of this latest survey is where are these middle and high school kids getting what are controlled substances, such as steroids, that are illegal to possess or sell without a prescription.
Student-athletes were more likely than their peers to use most methods of muscle-building. Steroid use, however, was equally common among athletes and non-athletes.
According to findings published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, Asian students were three to four times more likely to have used steroids in the past year than white students. Most Asians in the study were Hmong, lead researcher Marla Eisenberg from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and her colleagues noted.
Their study shows higher adolescent use of steroids and other muscle-boosting substances than most other recent research and "is cause for concern," according to the researchers. But it's not clear whether the findings would apply to an area outside of the Twin Cities, or among wealthier students, they noted.