The Lance Armstrong Effect?
More Teenagers Using Performance Enhancing Drugs
Docs say kids are growing up in a world where speed, size are prized
A disturbing new study shows, perhaps thanks to the example set by discredited cyclist Lance Armstrong and other high profile athletes, teenagers are using more performance enhancing drugs.
“Role models are certainly influencing kids, and unfortunately it’s a very bad example that they are setting,” said Dr. Christian Balldin of the San Antonio Orthopaedic Group. “It is very important that kids are aware of the affect that some of these products can have on their bodies.”
The study was published in the journal “Pediatrics.” It shows that of a random sample of middle and high school students tested in Minnesota, 35% of boys reported using protein powders, 6% reported using steroids, and two thirds reported changing their diet to increase muscle tone or size. 21% of girls reported using similar substances. 12% of both boys and girls say they use three or more of these substances.
Dr. Balldin says the substances can be particularly harmful for teenagers, because the body at that stage of development is already ‘bulking up,’ naturally.
“Most of the time, we certainly get enough protein in our regular diet as long as it’s a healthy, well balanced diet,” he said.
Dr. Balldin agreed with the study, that the young people are growing up in a world where, especially for boys, visible muscles and other outward signs of strength are valued.
“Obviously in today’s environment, everything is being emphasized as far as speed and size.”
Dr. Balldin says parents should be aware of the signs that a youngster is using these types of drugs. He says many times that show up in teenagers in the form of stomach cramps and nausea.
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Dr. Christian Balldin is an orthopaedic surgeon, fellowship trained in sports medicine, with The San Antonio Orthopaedic Group. He treats patients aged 3 years and up for all orthopaedic conditions with the exception of the spine. His special interests include hip arthroscopy and sports-related injuries. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Balldin, call 210.281.9595.