More teenagers seek big muscles through steroids, weights

Teen bodybuilding
In this 2005 file photo, teen bodybuilder Ritchie Sandrak poses at AMPAS's Linwood Dunn Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

A new report from the journal Pediatrics shows that a growing number of teen boys are bodybuilding, and using supplements and steroids to bulk up. The study, done by the University of Minnesota, surveyed more than 2,700 adolescents enrolled in middle school and high school in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Both young men and women are using protein powders and steroids, but the report found the behavior is more common among boys.

The effects of these supplements and steroids may be particularly dangerous for adolescents. From the New York Times:

Anabolic steroids pose a special danger to developing bodies, Dr. Shalender Bhasin said. Steroids "stop testosterone production in men," he said, leading to terrible withdrawal problems when still-growing boys try to stop taking them. Still, the constant association of steroids with elite athletes like Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds perpetuates the notion that they can be managed successfully.

Dr. Linn Goldberg, professor of medicine and the head of the division of health promotion & sports medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, and Jeffrey Potteiger, Dean of Graduate Studies at Grand Valley State University, join the Daily Circuit today to discuss this trend.

If you're a teen or a young adult, do you see friends and fellow students using steroids? Why do young people do it? Do you think our ideas about body image are changing? Comment on the blog.

MPR News is Reader Funded

Before you keep reading, take a moment to donate to MPR News. Your financial support ensures that factual and trusted news and context remain accessible to all.