Ask any teen if they'd like to be lean and muscular and most likely they are going to say yes. In fact more and more teenagers are turning to diet, exercise and protein powders to help them muscle up and lose weight. They are also using steroids and other muscle enhancing drugs in hopes of developing the perfect body.
Although boys most often use these techniques, girls are also turning to steroids in hopes of achieving more muscle and less fat.
A study released in the online journal Pediatrics, reports that 2,793 middle school and high school students were asked about the methods they used to increase their muscle size or tone. The average age was 14 and the students went to schools in the Minneapolis -St. Paul, Minnesota area.
The results showed that:
- 68% of boys; 62% of girls changed their eating habits.
- 91% of boys; 81% of girls exercised more.
- 35% of boys; 21% of girls used protein powders or shakes.
- 6% of boys; 5% of girls used steroids.
- 11% of boys; 6% of girls used muscle-enhancing substances such as creatine, amino acids, hydroxyl methylbutyrate (HMB), DHEA, or growth hormones.
The data did not indicate whether the diets were healthy or not or what type of exercise was adopted.
The findings suggests that "increasing muscle strength or mass or tone is an important piece of body image for both boys and girls," says lead study author Marla Eisenberg, professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. "Kids really are seeing that as a goal."
Some experts on child health are concerned that kids are exercising, dieting, drinking protein drinks and using steroids not because they want to have a healthy physique but because they are trying to create what they think is the cultural ideal of the perfect body. Health and fitness are not their main objectives, looking a particular way is.