Study Sounds Alarm About Bodybuilding Obsession In Boys

On its front page, the New York Times (11/19, A1, Quenqua, Subscription Publication) reports, “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 fact, “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,” with 38 percent saying “they used protein supplements,” and about six percent admitting to experimenting with steroids. The piece goes on to explain the anabolic steroid use in men may cause testosterone production to stop.

But it is not just boys who are trying to “increase muscle size or tone,” USA Today (11/19, Healy) reports. In “some cases, they are nearly as widespread among girls,” the study found. The “study is a reminder that parents and physicians need to be aware that these behaviors are going on and that they need to be discussed with their adolescents, says Joel Brenner, medical director of the Sports Medicine Program at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Va., and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness.”

While “the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing substances is clearly dangerous and needs to be avoided…inappropriate changes to diet or exercise can also be hazardous, he says.”

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— “Muscular Body Image Lures Boys Into Gym, and Obsession,” Douglas Quenqua, New York Times, November 19, 2012.

Posted in In The News.