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Among boys, more than 90 percent said they exercised specifically to boost muscle mass, including 41 percent who said they'd "often" done so in the past year. Forty five percent said they'd altered their diets with the goal of bulking up at least "sometimes," while 19 percent used protein supplements sometimes or often.
By Amy NortonA survey of about 2,800 Minnesota teens found that nearly all boys were doing something to boost their muscle mass. Most often, that meant exercise. But 6 percent said they'd used steroids in the past year, while almost 11 percent used some other muscle enhancing substance, such as creatine or DHEA.
What's not clear is whether today's kids are any more muscle conscious than past generations were. Studies have only looked at that question in the past Nike Vapormax X Clot decade or so.
Building Teens May Go to Extremes
The findings are concerning, said lead researcher Marla Eisenberg, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis.
"But it could be an unhealthy behavior if they're using protein shakes to replace real food," Eisenberg said. Kids who down protein supplements may be Nike Air Vapormax Red And White
But in general, she noted, it's hard not to notice that sports figures and celebrities are "bigger" or more toned than they used to be and that we are surrounded by images of them.
Almost two thirds said they exercised specifically to gain muscle, at least "sometimes." Nearly 5 percent reported using steroids, while a similar number said they took other muscle enhancers.
boys are just as affected as girls.
Of the girls, about 43 percent had changed their diets, and 64 percent had worked out to boost muscle, sometimes or often, in the past year. About 8 percent had used protein supplements sometimes or often.
Steroid use is obviously risky; side effects range from acne and unwanted body hair to heart attacks and liver disease.
Those figures are slightly higher than some other recent studies have found, the researchers say. kids. Nor is it known why so many kids want more muscle. The researchers did not ask about that, Eisenberg said.
Parents should be concerned, Eisenberg said, if they see signs that their child is overly interested in physique. Those signs include constantly checking the mirror, suddenly shifting to a high protein diet or excessively working out.
overly focused on gaining a certain body type.
"It's important to remember that the kids in this study are not saying they exercise for fun or to be healthy," said Linda Smolak, a professor emerita of psychology at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, who focuses on child development and eating disorders.
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But Eisenberg said even exercise or diet changes can be negative, if kids do it just to adhere to a certain body ideal.
Similarly, it's only in recent years that studies have looked at boys' body image issues at all, Smolak at Kenyon College pointed out. But, she said, some studies have suggested that when you look at all forms of body image worries not just the quest for thinness, but for Black Nike Vapormax Flyknit
Girls were also keen on getting toned, researchers report in the December issue of Pediatrics, published online Nov. 19.
Some teens may want to build muscle to get a certain "look." Others may do it for a sport, Smolak pointed out. In this study, students playing team sports were more likely to be trying to add muscle; boys on sports teams, for example, were twice as likely as other boys to use protein shakes or powders.
The findings are based on surveys of 2,793 middle and high school students in the Minneapolis area. They were a diverse group: 29 percent were black, 20 percent Asian and 17 percent Hispanic.
"We specifically asked whether they were doing those things to increase muscle mass or tone," Eisenberg said. "If a kid is often exercising for that reason, it might point to body image concerns."
A researcher not involved in the study agreed.
Smolak also warned against placing too much importance on your kids' sports achievement, since they may think they need a certain body type to excel. "We all have different bodies," she said. "It is not a great idea to try to fit into a stereotype or a socially prescribed ideal, even for a sport."
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